Revolutionary, 'real-time' staff experience data at NHS trust reveals good and bad

Around a fifth of staff at the NHS trust running hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside have experienced abuse or violence in the past year, a survey suggests.

By Ben O'Connell
Wednesday, 30 January, 2019, 08:38
Northumbria Healthcares flagship emergency-care hospital at Cramlington.

At last Thursday’s (January 24) meeting of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s board, members received an update on the first set of results from the organisation’s revolutionary, ‘real-time’ staff experience programme, which is unique in the NHS.

Of the 2,700 or so members of staff who responded in December, 577 said that they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: ‘I have experienced physical violence, harassment, bullying or abuse at work in the last 12 months.’

However, 1,297 strongly disagreed with this and another 593 disagreed, while a further 256 neither agreed nor disagreed.

But there were plenty of positives in the first batch of feedback from staff, not least in the consistency of scores across different departments and areas of the trust as well as different hospitals.

It was also highlighted that those who had been with the trust for 20 years were no less engaged than new employees.

The overall staff experience score was 70.4 per cent, while 72.1 per cent said they would recommended Northumbria as a place to work.

Chief experience officer Annie Laverty explained that given that the trust was a trail-blazer on this, there was no benchmarking data, but that the academic literature suggests that 70 per cent is a pretty healthy score.

She added that Northumbria’s long-term aim, which would not be easy, could perhaps be to get towards 80 per cent.

The highest-scoring questions related to working as a team, going above and beyond and being proud to work for the trust, while the lowest-scoring were focused on how frequently staff are recognised, feeling overloaded and the organisation acting on concerns.

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Northumbria Healthcare has long made experience a priority both for staff and patients. Its Happy, Healthy and Productive staff programme follows on from its nationally-recognised, multi-award-winning patient experience work.

The idea is simple – happier, healthier employees are more likely to deliver a higher quality of care.

The same day as the board meeting, the programme received a vote of confidence from leading health charity, The Health Foundation (THF).

As part of THF’s Innovating for Improvement programme, the trust will receive a £75,000 grant to help it test and develop the scheme with a view to it being adopted by other NHS organisations.

Mrs Laverty said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the Health Foundation to be part of its exciting Innovating for Improvement programme which will enable us to test and develop our approach and encourage wider learning across the NHS.

“As part of our ongoing Northumbria Way campaign, the staff experience programme will help us to ensure we always have a positive working environment where our employees feel they can have a say in shaping our organisation for the better.

“There is a strong link between happy and healthy teams and the quality of care we provide. By regularly checking in with our staff, we can fully understand their thoughts and expectations as well as use this information to help our teams to reach their full potential.

“The knock-on effect of this will mean our patients receive the best possible care.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service