20th Feb, 2020

Solihull NHS staff feel overworked, underpaid and unwell, a survey revealed

Felix Nobes 19th Apr, 2018 Updated: 20th Apr, 2018

SOLIHULL NHS staff are struggling to cope with ‘work related stress’ and understaffing, NHS figures show.

Overall ‘staff engagement’ at what was the Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust (HEFT) is in the bottom 20 per cent of all UK trusts.

As part of a national NHS survey, staff from each of the 309 NHS organisations – a total of 1.1million workers – responded to questions on aspects of their roles including health and wellbeing, working patterns and job satisfaction.

It revealed staff members are generally dissatisfied with their salaries, believe short staffing affects their ability to perform and feel ill due to the pressure of their roles.

The Heart of England Foundation Trust (HEFT) controlled Solihull, Birmingham Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals.

Since the survey was undertaken, a merger between HEFT and University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) Trust has created the largest such trust in the UK.

The Solihull trust had 4083 staff take part in the survey, 41 per cent of all staff.

It revealed nearly two fifths (39 per cent) of staff have felt unwell due to work related stress in the last year.

It also found 55 per cent of staff have attended work in the last three months despite feeling unwell.

Although a national problem, only 31 per cent of employees believed there was enough staff to perform their roles effectively.

Around 70 per cent of staff say they are working extra hours although this percentage is lower than the national average.

But it also shows only 30 per cent were happy with their salaries.

The survey comes as NHS staff have been offered a pay deal which would end the one per cent pay cap in place in since 2010.

A particular problem for the trust was only 79 per cent of staff believe there were equal opportunities for career progression or promotion in the organisation, falling 6 per cent lower than the national average of 85 per cent and into the bottom 20 per cent of all trusts.

It was also in the worst 20 per cent of trusts for staff satisfied with flexible working patterns with only 46 per cent content compared to a 51 per cent national average.

The rates of recommendation of staff for their workplace providing a good place to work or receive treatment are also in the worst 20 per cent.

In fact, only 24 per cent of staff say the organisation took ‘positive action’ on health and wellbeing and only 68 per cent believed the care of patients is the trust’s top priority.

Both of these figures are in the worst 20 per cent and fall nearly 10 per cent below the national averages.

The survey comes on the back of a winter crisis in the NHS which saw soaring bed occupancy rates, ambulance delays and cancellations of non-serious surgeries.

Figures for March show the trust endured the highest number of total A&E attendances in the Midlands.

Around 23 per cent of patients waited longer than four hours from arrival to admission, discharge or transfer from A&E – exceeding national guidelines.

THE BMA SAY..

The British Medical Association council chair Chaand Nagpaul said the survey reveals the ‘human cost’ of pressures on the health service.

He said: “These new figures reflect the reality faced by doctors who are working under impossible conditions with widespread staff shortages, a lack of capacity in their workplaces and a chronically underfunded NHS.

“It is clear from this survey that despite immense pressures, NHS staff continue to go above and beyond, often working long past the end of exhausting shifts without additional pay, with nearly four in 10 reporting work related stress in the past year.

“Over half have ignored their own health concerns and turn up to work when unwell. Heavy workloads often lead to stress and burnout which can compound recruitment and retention problems.

“Doctors working under these pressures and enduring work related ill health cannot be good for patient care.

“We are calling on politicians to act now – we urgently need a long-term solution to the staffing and funding pressures facing the NHS, otherwise it simply won’t be able to provide the safe and high-quality care that patients deserve and that doctors want to deliver.”

We have approached HEFT for comment.

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