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Nearly one third of NHS staff would not feel safe whistleblowing over unsafe care

Meanwhile fewer staff were satisfied enough with standard of care to recommend it to a patient or friend

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Just two in three NHS staff members (68%) would feel secure in raising concerns about unsafe practice, the NHS Staff Survey has found. And only just over half (57%) would feel confident that their organisation would address their concern if they did.

This is the first time that the survey, which was completed by over 255,000 staff in 2014, has asked questions about whistleblowing.

Meanwhile the proportion of staff who were happy enough with the standard of care provided by their organisation to recommend it to a friend or relative has declined from 65% in 2013 to 64%.

The Picker Institute, which conducted the survey for NHS England, said that this measure was “concerning”.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Picker Institute, said: “Evidence shows that there is a relationship between staff experience in the NHS and the quality of care patients’ experience.”

He added: “For the service to deliver world class care to its users, it first needs to ensure its staff are well looked after.”

The survey results highlight the increasing pressure tight NHS finances are having on staff and their service provision. The proportion of staff satisfied with their level of pay fell by 5 percentage points – from 38% in 2013 to 33% in 2014. This is the first drop in satisfaction with pay, which has otherwise remained steady, since 2011.

The number of respondents who think that there are enough staff for them to do their jobs properly fell from 30% in 2013 to 29% in 2014, and the number of staff who would recommend their organisation as a place to work also fell from 58% to 56%. Only two in five (41%) feel that their organisation values their work.

The proportion of NHS staff who reported being unwell over the last 12 months as a result of work related stress remained constant at 39% between 2013 and 2014. And more positively still, the proportion of staff reporting they felt pressure to work while feeling unwell fell markedly, from 68% in 2013 to 65% in 2014.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: “The results this year show staff reporting increased pressure because of significant challenges facing the health service.”

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