The NHS runs on goodwill– but how long can that last?
The 2015 NHS Staff Survey results are out and it is welcome news that staff are mostly happy with the support they get from colleagues and line managers. But life is far from easy in the NHS and the responsibility for that falls squarely on the Government.
A recent King’s Fund report showed that half of NHS finance officers believe budget cuts have hit quality of care. Austerity in health spending isn’t an exercise in efficiency: it’s an attack on the foundations that support excellent patient care. Managers know it, and staff see the effects every day.
Only 55% of staff have adequate supplies or equipment to do their job effectively, and only 31% of staff agree there are enough staff at their organisation for their jobs to be done properly. With diminishing resource and not enough staff, no wonder only 39% of staff feel satisfied with the quality of care they provide to patients.
Against such a bleak backdrop, the dedication of NHS staff to the service and the public is remarkable. 73% of staff are working extra hours, with 60% of staff working unpaid overtime. And nearly two-thirds of staff report coming to work despite feeling too unwell to perform their usual duties.
But no worker should ever be put in that position and it’s no surprise that over a third of staff report work related stress.
With NHS staff facing a decade of government imposed pay caps resulting in real terms cuts in their living standards, it is no wonder that only 37% of NHS staff report being satisfied with their level of pay.
The survey is more evidence that without the goodwill of staff the NHS would fall apart. So it’s remarkable that the Government rewards staff only with words, failing to alleviate stress, bullying and the constant battle to do more with – and for – less.
If there is a key theme from this survey, it is ‘we love our jobs, but…’. A message which the Govt would be wise to heed.
NHS staff prove time and again their dedication to the NHS – it’s time for Government to recognise and reward it.