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Expert judges give hospitals thumbs up

Tuesday March 7, 2017

St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals have been rated as some of the best places to work or be treated in the NHS by the people who know them best – their staff.

The 2016 national NHS Staff Survey results published today put Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WSHFT), which runs the three hospitals, in the top 20% on the key measure of “staff recommendation of the organisation as a place to work or receive treatment”.

Some 80% of staff surveyed at WSHFT said they would be happy with the standard of care provided by the organisation if a friend or relative needed treatment, compared to 70% across all acute hospital trusts nationally.

And 72% of WSHFT respondents said they would recommend Western Sussex as a place to work, against an average of 62% for all hospitals nationwide.

We know that better staff engagement has a huge positive impact on standards of care

The trust also saw significant increases in the proportion of staff willing to recommend it on each of the two key measures. Recommendation as a place to be treated increased from 73% in the 2015 survey, while recommendation as a place to work was up from 65%.

Staff also gave the hospitals a vote of confidence on a range of measures contributing to job satisfaction, with the other ‘key findings’ against which Western Sussex was rated most highly in comparison to other trusts all related to happiness at work.

Western Sussex was among the top 20% of hospital providers in

  • providing equal opportunities for career progression or promotion,
  • offering flexible working arrangements, and
  • taking action to promote the health and wellbeing of its employees.

WSHFT Chief Executive Marianne Griffiths said: “Nobody knows our hospitals better than the people who work in them, so it’s fantastic news for patients that they have such confidence in the care we provide, particularly during a period in which pressure on services has never been higher.

“We know that better staff engagement has a huge positive impact on standards of care, so we have prioritised investing in our people through our Patient First programme. These survey results show we’re now seeing the benefits of that in how staff feel about the quality of service they are able to provide and the working conditions that enable them to continually improve.

“It’s great that our staff are so willing to recommend us as a place to work because it’s only through being able to recruit and retain the very best people that we can provide the very best care. The positive experiences our staff are reporting will help us do just that.”

The survey also highlights areas of staff experience that trusts should focus on for further improvement.

For Western Sussex, physical violence was the main area identified for attention, with 18% of respondents saying they had experienced it from patients or the public (compared to a national average of 15%) and 3% from other staff (against 2% nationally). The trust was also in the bottom 20% of trusts for staff feeling pressure from managers, colleagues or themselves to come in to work despite feeling unwell, and on quality of non-mandatory training.

Mrs Griffiths said: “We have an absolute zero tolerance of violence and threatening behaviour towards hospital staff and although the problem is not getting worse we want it to get significantly better.

“We have recently completed a violence and aggression audit to look more closely at where the main issues lie and hopefully the measures we take as a result of that will enable our staff to feel safer.”

The survey was taken by 3,959 members of Western Sussex Hospitals staff, which is a response rate of 59% and up from 54% in the previous year’s survey. The comparable national response rate for 2016 was 44%.

The trust’s results improved year on year on each of the 32 key finding measures in the survey.

You can read full and summary reports of WSHFT results below or on the NHS Staff Survey website at http://www.nhsstaffsurveyresults.com/organisational-summary/

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