'Marked improvement' in staff morale at Chesterfield Royal Hospital

A staff survey into working conditions at Chesterfield Royal Hospital has shown a 'marked improvement' across the board for staff.

With just shy of 4,000 staff working at Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust it’s one of North Derbyshire’s largest employers - and the Trust’s Board of Directors has set out to become one of the country’s top 20% NHS organisations, not just for first-class patient care, but for providing a great place for people to work.

Results from the 2018 national staff survey show that it’s making real progress towards that aim – with marked improvements across the survey’s ten ratings of staff experience.

And with one of the highest response rates in the country for an acute hospital – at 71% - more members of staff than ever before (2751) have had their say about what it feels like for them to be part of the NHS, working at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, community based services and Royal Primary Care GP surgeries.

Commenting on the results, Simon Morritt, Chief Executive says: “We’re really delighted at such visible progress. It’s a real step-change and it’s down to a new approach over the last two years that’s creating a culture where we all share the same positive values, beliefs, behaviours and ambitions.

“Providing high-quality, safe and patient-centred care has to be at the heart of what we do and with a rating of GOOD from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) we’re well on our way to become outstanding in that respect. However, it’s equally important to give the same attention to detail to our people.

Taking care of their health and wellbeing, providing them with career development, education and training opportunities, putting them in charge of leading change and improvement, making sure their working environment is safe and that they are supported through compassionate leadership.

All of this – and more - enables them to give that high-standard of care to our patients. “We are getting better together – it’s a team effort backed by a host of new strategies and ways of working that engage our people in everything we do.

There are some really tough challenges in the NHS at the moment. Nevertheless these results show that with the right culture we can address those challenges positively - working in co-operation and alongside all our staff groups.” The Trust’s high-level results show significant improvements in seven out of the survey’s nine categories – including health and wellbeing, safety culture, quality of care and quality of appraisals.

Scores for two categories – equality, diversity & inclusion and safe environment stay about the same. The tenth rating, for staff morale, is a new experience measure for 2018 and the Trust already illustrates a score of 6.2 out of 10, just short of the country’s top score of 6.7.

In fact this year the Trust scores higher than the national average in six out of the ten measures, with three matching the average rating and just one slightly below in the category of safe environment (violence). In this measure organisations with scores closer to ten show that staff have experienced low levels of physical violence at work from either patients, relatives and carers – or managers and other colleagues. The Trust comes in at 9.3, just behind the average of 9.4 and the best score of 9.6.

“Whilst no-one should experience violence at work – and never from colleagues - there are sometimes clinical reasons a patient can become violent, due to their condition and its symptoms,” explains Mr Morritt.

“We’ve adopted some excellent activity therapies for patients with conditions that can lead to confusion, anxiety and agitation and which may cause them to lash out. Through our approach to health and wellbeing we’ve added in classes for personal safety for any member of staff to join in with.

Even though we score pretty well against this measure it’s an area of improvement, to make sure that both patients and staff are safe when they’re with us.”

The Board of Directors has pledged to continue to build on this year’s success – and over the next few months there will be a focus on delivering ambitions set out in its People Strategy and Quality Strategy, both of which contain a host of plans designed to improve areas including work-life balance, leadership, education and training and patient care, safety and experience.

In addition, the Royal’s grand-scale staff engagement known as ‘Listening into Action’ will see even more improvement projects and developments realised, with teams across the Trust given the go-ahead to act on their own ideas and suggestions and
make them happen.

“All of these improvements are testament to our staff and their commitment and hard work,” concludes Mr Morritt.

“By giving people the opportunity to get involved, by supporting our staff and enabling them to take the lead we’re creating an even better place to work. We’re not complacent though. It’s vital we do more of what’s already proving successful and improve what’s not working as well.

"When the staff survey for 2019 is open in October and November we want to feel confident that we have worked hard to drive up these measures of improvement, to illustrate that we are serious about making a difference to the places all our staff work in and the support that we give them as part of the Chesterfield Royal Hospital family.”

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