RD&E’s NHS Staff survey results reflect a challenging year

11 Mar 2021

The outcomes of the 2020 NHS Annual Staff Survey for the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust (RD&E) show a mixed picture, reflecting what has been an exceptional and challenging year for staff across the NHS.

While some indicators declined, the trust continued to score well on some key questions. For example 84% of staff at the RD&E say that if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care provided by the organisation – a score significantly higher than the 74% national average for similar trusts.

Overall, 85% of staff say they feel safe in their place of work – above the 80% national average - while 71% would recommend the RD&E as a place to work, compared with an average of 67% in similar trusts across England.

In a demanding year, the RD&E’s score for health and wellbeing has shown a statistically significant increase, rising from 6 to 6.2 between 2019 and 2020. This reflects the considerable focus on supporting staff through the COVID-19 pandemic, including creating two new staff rest areas, making funding available for additional staff area improvements and launching a “thank you” campaign to share messages of support and gratitude from the public.

Despite this, five themes (which group several questions together) have declined year on year. Five key themes have seen statistically significant decreases this year, including immediate managers (from 7.1 to 6.7) and team working (from 6.7-6.4).

Suzanne Tracey, Chief Executive of the RD&E and Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT), said: “The last year has been exceptionally challenging for our staff; in addition to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the year, we have faced continued operational pressures, run the NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter, and launched our new electronic patient record system MY CARE, which was a huge digital milestone for both the RD&E and the NHS.

“In my experience, even though the NHS often faces intense pressure, this last year has been like nothing we have experienced before. The health and wellbeing of our colleagues is a top priority for the trust, and in light of these challenges, it is pleasing to report that our staff feel we have supported them in this area. We know that more remains to be done, and we are committed to developing our offer so that we can continue to best support our staff.

“The survey has also highlighted a number of areas we need to focus on over the next year and we have established a task force team to assess how we address these issues and take appropriate action. This includes looking at how we will improve managerial support, team working, and staff engagement across the trust.

“There is no doubt that our staff are pivotal to the safe delivery of high quality patient care, and my pledge is to keep listening to and engaging to our colleagues, particularly as we progress our integration with Northern Devon Health Care NHS Trust (NDHT). I want to also put on record my thanks and appreciation for the dedication, endeavour and skill that our staff bring to work every day and in meeting the challenges we have faced during the last year. I am immensely proud of each and every member of our team.”

The NHS Staff Survey is the largest annual workforce survey in the world and participation is mandatory for all NHS organisations in England. The survey was carried out independently by Picker Institute Europe on behalf of the RD&E.



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