Sam Allen, Chief Executive, refelects on Sussex Partnership's NHS staff survey results for 2019.
There's a clear link between NHS staff experience at work and patient care within services, which is one reason it's so important to measure it.
The latest annual NHS staff survey results are published today (18 February) and I want to share some headlines with you, as well as a link to the detailed results.
First off, I want to thank all of you who completed a questionnaire. Our 56% survey response rate gives us a huge amount of data to draw upon in looking at how we make Sussex Partnership a place where people feel valued, supported and able to provide patients, families and carers with the best possible service.
Overall, your feedback shows a significant improvement, compared to last year, in 28 areas covered by the survey. This is a really positive reflection of the ongoing attention we are all giving to create a positive working environment at Sussex Partnership. We've stayed the same in 61 areas and deteriorated in 1 (a drop from 66% to 62% in relation to staff who say they are given feedback about changes in response to reported errors, near misses and incidents - though this remains slightly higher than the national average for mental health trusts).
For me, one of the most important areas of feedback relates to the percentage of staff who say patient care is the organisation's top priority. Whilst this has increased from 68% to 80% in the last five years (compared to a national average for mental health trusts of 76%), we clearly have more work to do. This applies equally to the five year increase from 48% to just under 64% in people who would recommend the organisation as a place to work (compared to an average of 62% for NHS mental health trusts); demonstrating both positive progress and the need for further improvement.
It is encouraging that 92% of you feel trusted to do your job, 81.5% feel valued by your line manager and 88% believe our organisation acts fairly in relation to career progression. That said, only 59.9% of respondents reported being able to deliver the care you aspire to (compared to a national average for mental health trusts of 65.8%) and only 55% feel you have the resources you need to do your job.
Addressing the workforce shortages within our services remains a vital area of focus for us in the year ahead. We are providing targeted support in recruitment 'hot spots' at the same time as introducing new roles such as Peers Workers, Graduate Mental Health Workers and Nursing Associates. In parallel, we need to retain our existing staff. One way we are looking to do this is by creating a culture based on psychological safety, where people feel empowered to make a difference, able to speak out without feeling punished or rejected and able to be themselves at work.
One finding from the staff survey which illustrates the need to focus on this area is that 10.7% of people have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from work from their line manager (compared to a national mental health trust average of 11.7%). This is completely unacceptable. The fact 78% of people report receiving support from their line manager shows we have positive working practices in place upon which we can build, but this is an area where we simply cannot afford any complacency.
The report published today shows the survey responses from Sussex Partnership as one group of staff. As a next step, it's really important we understand the results across our teams and in relation to specific protected characteristics including ethnicity, gender, disability, age and sexuality. We know from existing evidence such as the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report that individual experience will vary according to these factors. We need to pay close attention to this in order to understand it and respond to the issues it raises. Once the more detailed information is available, my expectation is that all services and teams look at the data and what it tells us. This is about being a truly inclusive organisation and employer.
The most important outcome from the survey is using it as a spur for continuous improvement. I want to say how much I value your contribution to the work we do on behalf of the patients, families and local communities we serve. Your feedback about what we do well, and where we need to improve, is something I listen to and take extremely seriously.