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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'Care will suffer if staff satisfaction is neglected'

  • 8 Comments

The public aren’t very happy with the NHS according to a survey published last week, and now, it seems, neither are its staff.

Well I bet none of your jaws dropped reading that. It’s hardly surprising that against a backdrop of cuts, concern over pensions and the introduction of a Health and Social Care Act regarded by some as savaging the NHS that nurses, doctors and other staff aren’t laughing all the way to collect their (frozen) pay cheques.

Nursing Times has obtained a survey on NHS staff views commissioned by the government. It reveals nurses in acute care who, despite feeling satisfied with the NHS service delivery in their local area, were most likely to feel that the NHS was under-resourced (at 82%). And they felt that services would continue to decline over the next few years.

And this is the figure from the survey to which we should pay closest attention, because this is the group that’s on the frontline, seeing first hand how cuts are affecting patients and their families every day. If anyone knows what’s going on - and going wrong - it’s these nurses. Up to their eyeballs in work, and struggling to cover roles that aren’t being replaced, these are the ones having to make excuses to a patient’s daughter about why her mother hasn’t been helped with her meal, or who struggle to get someone’s granddad to the toilet in time. If they think the NHS is under-resourced, then it is. If they report that the standard of care has got worse and will get worse, they’re right there, so they’re right.

Yet despite the desperation, health service staff continue to be resilient. Of those surveyed, 89% still claim to be proud to work in the NHS. But that pride is for what it was and what it should stand for. And not what it will be if cuts continue to pull standards down.

As efficiency savings cut into frontline services and patient safety and quality become the sacrificial lamb, it will be hard for nurses and allied health professionals to hold onto that pride.

And that isn’t just bad for them, it’s bad for patients.

Happy staff make for more productive and efficient workplaces. The misery imposed by cutting costs is not only tying staff’s hands behind their backs in practical terms, it has a psychological impact too. It’s making them frustrated, unhappy and disengaged. Unless something changes, next year’s surveys around staff - and patient - satisfaction could make for even more uncomfortable reading.

  • Don’t forget to enter the Nursing Times Awards, the entry deadline is 29 June. See ntawards.co.uk
  • 8 Comments

Readers' comments (8)

  • This is the sort of article we need published in the press instead of the constant criticising and accusations made against nurses for being lazy incompetent and uncaring.

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  • I smiled all through reading this article. It certainly says it all. I am proud and happy to be a nurse and i completely love my job. But its time something is done. We are suffering!

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  • I am not suprised at the outcome of this survey. Staff morales are at the lowest. I work as a nurse and have the vast experience needed for my job. The govenment and the managers are not worried as far as they are able to make cut to the disadvantage of staff and mainly the patients. I have seen more that 6 wards closed since 2009 and this continues to be the case. My pay rise is been frozen for sometime now and forensic lead is been reduced until finally taken away for working in a mediium secure unit. Although, I continue to feel the need to deliver 100% care to the patients, but it is only a matter of time. To be candid, nursing is becoming a joke with no future. I cannot afford to buy my own house, my pension is reduced as I have to work longer until I am probably not able to enjoy the pension when it comes. Staff morale will continue to drop, I think most nurses are just putting on a brave face.

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  • Jenni Middleton
    After a bit of a mauling when you first started, seems like you are getting more and more millitant as you go along! Now, if you turned round and said strike, I wonder how many would be persuaded to follow you! RCN, give Jenni her honourary Nurse status!

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  • Jenni Middleton

    RedPaddys12

    I appreciate the support (and the lack of mauling)! Thank you!

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  • Jenni Middleton
    Are you now an in-law of HRH? If so, drop her a line on the back of a footman telling her how the greatest thing associated with her reign is being butchered by a load of Tory spivs, pehaps she can get the Navy to send a gun-boat up the Thames and blow holes in the Houses of Parliament!

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  • Staff have not been happy with the NHS for a long-time, way before the patients started complaining about the service.

    No-one listened to us then and excellent, dedicated, hard-working nurses get blamed when services are not up to scratch.

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  • Wouldn't it be good if the trusts cared about their staff instead of turning a blind eye to the rock bottom morale caused by an unappreciated overworked workforce. We hear from management when there is a complaint, sending staff to cover shortfalls, or if they are audititng something.
    Never any recognition for hard work only fault finding.

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