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NHS staff have say on 'safety culture' at their Trust

Mon 7th December, 2015
NHS staff have say on 'safety culture' at their Trust

If you’re going to be top of any NHS league table in 2015-2016, perhaps it’s these ones?

In the post-Mid Staffs era, at a time when there is increasing scrutiny from all quarters of everything that moves within NHS Provider Trusts, how do you, as a hard-pressed CEO, decide what to focus on first? The financials? The mortality indicators? Instances of patient harm relative to numbers treated? Agency costs? Or all of the above, and more?

As we approach the end of the NHS National Staff Survey period for 2015, the following league tables rank the percentage of staff (who responded to the NHS NSS in 2014 at each NHS England Provider Trust) who agreed they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice. Based on the 2014-15 results in the tables below, take a bow:

• Specialist Acute Provider The Royal Marsden FT, where 81% agreed
• Acute Provider University Hospitals of Birmingham, where 80% of staff responding to this said yes
• Cambridgeshire Community Services, with 79% agreeing
• MHT Provider Berkshire Healthcare FT, with 78% staff feeling secure raising concerns
• South Central Ambulance Service FT, at 72%.

Clearly, in each league table, there are some serious questions to be asked of – and answered by – some/many Trust Executives around the safety culture that pervades according to their staff in 2015. Whether the common retort of ‘we’re aware, and we’re already addressing these concerns’ is well founded will be highly visible in short measure when we publish the 2015 results for the year ahead in March 2016.

Last year was the first year this key NSS finding was asked of staff and yet we’ve not seen any analysis done of it, publically at least. Well that’s now changed.

What does it tell us? That the culture at the Trust supports and encourages staff to report any aspect of the service that they don’t feel is safe? That the senior team is pre-disposed to putting the quality and safety of patients fore-square at the centre of everything that they do? That the Trust is as safe as can possibly be? I don’t know. There are others who will be able to correlate and compare how these results stack up against other measures held nationally and locally about how a Trust is performing.

But one thing is for sure I suspect: it’s a far more important lead indicator of the future health of a Trust than it’s been given credit for over the past year. The results for 2015 – and for the first time, a trend from last year – on this single question - will be fascinating.

How will your Trust have fared do you reckon?













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