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Leaders pledge to improve experience of working for NHS


A range of key health service leaders have pledged to improve staff experience in their organisations, including wellbeing and engagement.

At a meeting earlier today, leaders from 10 national healthcare bodies in England signed a commitment to “work towards fostering a culture where the experience of staff working in healthcare is a positive one and enables them to deliver their role with care, compassion and commitment”.

“This pledge will help improve the wellbeing of our NHS workforce”

Dan Poulter

Those backing the pledge included health minister Dan Poulter, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and Danny Mortimer, the new chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation.

The initiative was developed by NHS Employers and announced at its NHS Staff Experience Summit in London. The pledge is centred on five requirements for health service employers.

These include leading by example to foster a culture that engages and listens to staff, and then acting with that knowledge and understanding in mind.

It also commits them to measure employee engagement and health and wellbeing in their organisations and to increase and strengthen it.

In addition, they should promote a culture that recognises parity of esteem in relation to physical and emotional wellbeing and actively encourage better physical and emotional wellbeing for staff within our organisation.

Lastly, it calls on them to build on the relationships with other stakeholders, sharing expertise and experience in safeguarding, improving staff health and wellbeing, and developing effective approaches to staff engagement.

Mr Mortimer said: “This pledge challenges us to further our efforts to improve our workplaces, and I know that boards across the NHS will extend their support for ever more ambitious and impactful programmes to improve staff experience.”

Daniel MortimerDaniel Mortimer

Dr Poulter added: “Listening to staff and supporting them is vital in creating the right working environment where patients receive the best possible care. This pledge will help improve the wellbeing of our NHS workforce.”

Results from Nursing Times annual survey, also published today, confirmed the need for action in this area.

It is now five years since the Boorman Review concluded there was a “strong case” for investing in NHS staff health and wellbeing.

But nearly two-thirds, 60%, of the nearly 750 respondents to our survey said their employer did not attach a high enough priority to staff health and wellbeing.

Meanwhile, more than 60% of nurses say they have suffered the side-effects of work-related stress, such as physical or mental health problems in the past year.

The pledge signatories were:

  • David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission
  • Dr David Bennett, chief executive of Monitor
  • Professor Dame Carol Black, expert advisor on work and health Department of Health
  • Helen Buckingham, chief of staff at Monitor
  • Professor Ian Cumming, chief executive of Health Education England
  • Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England
  • David Flory, chief executive of the NHS Trust Development Authority
  • Charlie Massey, director general, strategy and external relations at the Department of Health
  • Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation
  • Jan Sobieraj, managing director of the NHS Leadership Academy
  • Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England
  • Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation

Readers' comments (3)

  • And who amongst these "leaders" will step forward and be held accountable when this pledge isn't realised?

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  • What a joke, lip service again!
    I've worked for the NHS now for several years and I can honestly say that I have never had a job with so much nepotism, back biting, double dealing, lies, cheating practiced by the higher ups!
    Day to day staff are great as are the overwheming majority of my colleagues, but I would/will not trust a word that is said by team leaders and above again, complete and utter lies and bordering on if not illegal work and employment practices.

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  • And will they explain their roles in the current rotten culture?

    None of these "leaders" just magically appeared in their current positions, did they? They all grappled their way up the greasy pole, trampling on others as they went (Simon Stevens worked in my old trust, which has a fine reputation...for bullying and staff dissatisfaction...).

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