Survey reveals medics are not happy at work

A survey of NHS staff across mid and south Essex has revealed just how low morale is in the industry.

The poll carried out by the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB) showed only 28 per cent of ICB staff would recommend their jobs to others.

The survey, carried out in March but published last week, also found only 31 per cent of staff said they were not planning on leaving.

Worryingly, only 48 per cent of staff felt the ICB “ensured errors and near misses were not repeated”.

A total of 31 per cent felt any concerns they raised were addressed and 42 per cent thought they would be treated fairly if involved in error or near miss. It is the second year the survey has shown dissatisfaction among staff but figures also show a sharp drop in satisfaction from last year.

It comes amid staff shortages and an announcement of 600 job losses at Mid and South Essex NHS Hospital Trust to stem a predicted £102million deficit by the end of 2024/25.

A Band 7 nurse working in Southend, who asked not to be named, said: “Lack of safe staffing contributes to poor outcomes for patients which when raised with senior management, whether via an incident report or verbal, the trust’s overall reaction is to reduce staffing by 600. This instability alongside the consistently poor staff pay rises despite increasing demands caused burnout and resignations.”

The nurse said disillusioned senior staff were “leaving across the board” adding: “Our lower band staff who are critical to safe staffing levels are paid essentially the same as those on minimum wage.” On the upside, 96 per cent who took part in the ICB survey said they weren’t asked to work overtime, 88 per cent said they weren’t pressured to come to work if unwell and 100 per cent said they had not experienced any unwanted sexual behaviour.

Dr Kathy Bonney, HR Director for Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board, commenting on the ICB survey, said: “As an organisation we know that staff morale is not where we would want it to be and this is reflected in the results of the last staff survey.

“For context, staff have gone through two significant organisational restructures since 2022. This survey was conducted in the midst of the second restructure which we know was a very difficult time for staff. We recognise a happy and well-motivated workforce is central to ensuring people in mid and south Essex get the health services they deserve.”

The ICB said its organisational development plan will support staff through greater staff engagement and team meetings.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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