NHS Staff ‘Not Happy With Care’

The majority of NHS staff would have reservations about being treated in their own hospital, a survey says. The poll of 72,600 hospital workers by the Healthcare Commission found only 44% would be happy with the standard of care where they worked.

The NHS watchdog said the findings were puzzling, while the Tories said it did little for patient confidence. It comes as the NHS struggles with debt but the government said research showed patients were satisfied with care.

The survey was conducted at the end of last year when the deficits were beginning to bite. 

Since then over 12,000 jobs have been cut, wards closed and operations delayed. The latest figures showed the NHS finished last year with a £512m deficit as nearly a third of trusts failed to balance the books.

Overall, 6% strongly agreed they would be happy with the care at their hospital, while 38% said they agreed. But 32% remained indifferent, saying they neither agreed or disagreed and 24% said they disagreed or disagreed strongly.

The hospital with the lowest rating by its staff was West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where only 24% said they would be happy to be treated there.

Tory Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the government was to blame for their handling of the health service. “It does little for patient confidence if staff do not wish to be treated in the hospital where they work.

“The government’s mismanagement of the NHS has undermined staff morale.”

But Dr Jonathan Boyce, head of surveys at the Healthcare Commission, said: “The variation in they way staff answer this question is something of a puzzle.

“It may reflect real differences in service quality. On the other hand, it may be a more general reflection of, for example, the quality of staff-management relationships at that time. It deserves further analysis.”

The poll also found staff were not impressed with the way hospitals were combating hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.

One in four said their hospital does not do enough to promote the importance of hand-cleaning to staff, patients and visitors.

And only half said they had received training in the last 12 months on how to combat infections.

The Department of Health pointed to other research by the Healthcare Commission which showed the overwhelming majority of patients were satisfied with their care.

A spokeswoman said: “The 2005 Healthcare Commission patient survey reported that more than 92% of patients rated their care by the NHS as either excellent, very good or good.

“Patients were particularly positive about communications with individual doctors, nurses and other clinical staff.”

But the survey also showed patients did have concerns about cleanliness, lack of information and staffing, a poll says.