NHS Wales staff survey: Only 52% happy for family treatment

  • 3 May 2013
  • From the section Wales
Media captionThe findings of an NHS staff survey also show that a third of workers have been ill with stress in the past year

Only 52% of NHS employees in Wales would be happy with the standard of care provided by the health service if a friend or relative needed treatment.

The findings of an NHS staff survey also show that a third of workers have been ill with stress in the past year.

But it also found staff are highly dedicated, with more than four in five saying they would be willing "to go the extra mile" for the organisation.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford said the survey showed a "mixed" picture.

"It isn't satisfactory that just over half of people working in our NHS positively think that what they provide would be good for somebody in their family," he said.

"It's a finding that's consistent with other parts of the NHS across the United Kingdom and I think it does reflect the sense of a service which it knows it is under pressure and not able to do a job that people would like to be done."

Media captionHealth Minister Mark Drakeford said some staff felt under strain and that the survey showed a "disconnect" between managers and employees on the front line

Mr Drakeford said some staff felt under strain and that the survey showed a "disconnect" between managers and employees on the front line. He was also concerned about scepticism among staff that their views will be acted on.

He said: "My job is to make sure this survey is used and pursued, and that local managements take it seriously and respond to it."

The survey is the first to be carried out in six years with 22,392 staff working in the Welsh NHS filling it out, representing 27% of the workforce.

It found 64% of NHS staff who responded said they were satisfied with their current job but fewer than half would recommend the NHS as an place to work.

A third of staff said they had been injured or felt unwell because of stress in the last 12 months and just under half (48%) felt they did not have enough time to complete their work.

Work related stress was highest amongst ambulance technicians (65%), paramedics (62%) and ambulance control staff (45%).

The survey responses also suggested that issues of bullying harassment and violence affected a small but notable minority of health service staff.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales and Unison - the union that represents many NHS staff - welcomed the survey's publication but called for action to address some of the concerns.

Peter Meredith-Smith of RCN Wales said the survey would only be beneficial if concerns were addressed.

He added: "Although the headline findings are in many respects positive, close reading of the national report indicates an NHS in Wales that is under significant pressure. It is apparent that frontline clinical staff are bearing the burden of that pressure.

Dawn Bowden, head of health at Unison Cymru Wales, said it was important to gauge how morale and workload pressures are among NHS staff.

'Matter of concern'

She said: "There are some very clear positives coming out of the survey results, showing that the workforce are committed and want to deliver a quality service.

"However, there are some concerning elements of the survey and it is essential that these elements are addressed in order to ensure that this staff survey is a meaningful exercise for the workforce and patients."

Dr Richard Lewis, Welsh secretary of the British Medical Association, added: "While this survey reflects much that is good in NHS Wales from the perspective of the frontline staff who work in it, clearly there is much to be done to change some of the unacceptable cultural norms."

The survey also indicated significant problems within the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Ambulance staff reported the lowest level of job satisfaction of any group in the NHS and a relatively high level of concerns in several categories.

They include the lowest levels of job engagement, the highest levels of stress, and higher levels of dissatisfaction with managers. Paramedics were also least happy about the standard of care being delivered.

Mr Drakeford called it "a matter of concern".

Last week a wide ranging review into the ambulance service highlighted problems with staff morale and recommended big changes to the way it is run.

The review will be debated by Welsh assembly members on Tuesday.

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