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- What is it like to be a staff member of NSFT?
Jelly, I don’t think this is a clinical vs. admin thing – at the end of the day we’re all subject to the schoolboy errors of this ‘clown car’ of a board. Of course those of us who do the day to day work for little pay and with astonishment at the way in which Gary ‘Wide-Boy’ Page still manages to cling on to power despite showing himself time and time again to be useless.
In this case it seems the lunatics really have taken over the asylum!
In a word, NIGHTMARE!! We hear a lot about the clinical staff here but things are no better for the administrative side. The reason the trust is in meltdown is purely because of the treacherous, incompetent, self-serving board of directors who are at all-out civil war with each other. They may be bringing in a new chief executive at £175K a year (are you reading this, £18K a year nurse?) but at the moment, they’re all jostling for pole position to get on his good side because heads will surely start to roll once he realises what egotistical nest of vipers he’s walked into.
The much trumpeted Trust Service Strategy doesn’t actually exist. It’s a loose compilation of whims chucked together by a bunch of people who are just looking out for themselves. There’s a culture of fear at the trust, but it’s not confined to the lower-rank workers, it goes right to the top. That’s why everyone in the boardroom is afraid to make a decision.
Gary Page has now sent an email to all staff containing a video on the intranet in which the new chief executive, who hasn’t even left his current trust yet, tells staff how rigourous his own selection panel was, which is quite strange in itself. It is even stranger when he wasn’t the unanimous first choice of clinicians, service users or carers. The infamous Director of Workforce and Organisation Development even tried to stop the clinicians’ panel asking all interviewees the same questions and told them they couldn’t name a preferred candidate – as ‘that wasn’t their job’.
The main panel which really made the choice consisted of: a history graduate and banker now trying to rebuild after his bank collapsed resulting in biggest state bailout in UK history, a semi-professional service user representative who many service users claim is totally unrepresentative and a trust stooge, the lead governor and former librarian who appears to refuse to scrutinise the board at all, the lead non-executive director and former Anglia television executive (wonder why Anglia News never has any NSFT news?) and a token CEO from elsewhere. There wasn’t a clinician, or anyone qualified as such, from NSFT on the panel. Not an NSFT nurse, doctor, social worker or psychologist.
The result was decided in advance and the idea now is to merge the mental health and community trusts. But Monitor will stop that happening. The £175K isn’t a surprise but yes it is disgusting when services are being slashed. Scott won’t stay long and has previous form. See this article in the Telegraph.
Not good, in fact dreadful. The bad, incompetent managers far outweigh the very hardworking, stressed good ones. They are stressed because they care. Bad managers are never relieved of their posts completely, just recycled.
Too many competent people have been ‘removed’ from their jobs as they ‘didn’t perform’ well enough at interviews. What are we auditioning for? A place on the X factor? . Coming from the delightful admin side, I been shocked beyond belief that extremely competent Band 4’s got offered Band 2, and some poorly performing lower bands got the higher posts. Ridiculous. The so called skill mix is more like lack of skill.
There are too many ‘favourites’ as well. They get promotions, their friends get promotions, their friends get jobs. They can do no wrong. There are people with access to other peoples emails, which shouldn’t have it. Emails of importance are often deleted before the intended recipient gets to see it. So, if someone tells you they didn’t get your email, they probably didn’t. It may have been deleted if the ‘over seer-er’ didn’t want you to see it.
And, as for budget, well, what a farce. I have had the same position for five years, & now no one wants to ‘claim me’ therefore I can’t get paper, envelopes & even paper clips! I am doled out half a ream of paper at a time, & the odd handful of paper clips. My transcription kit is broken & no one will fund a new one. How the hell am I supposed to do my job?
I could go on. This is just a small snapshot from one person struggling, but multiply this, and you have the perfect equation for disaster.
Last year I was admitted as a voluntary patient at risk of suicide. I was having my blood sugars tested one day and the nurse suddenly burst into tears. I tried to comfort her and she talked to me about what was distressing her.
She was having to face redundancy and the awful business of applying for her own job, or rather one of the reduced number of positions being offered. Her interview was imminent and she explained that in effect she was competing for that job with a friend and colleague of over 20 years.
The whole redundancy programme was a disastrous mistake in terms of wasting money and losing high quality, skilled, experienced, dedicated staff. But on top of all that, it was an inhumane process that caused harm to people and crippling damage to morale.
The need for mental health services is growing. Our government has its priorities all wrong and is failing to provide the resources needed. The NSFT is mismanaging what it is being given, when anyone who is responsible for their own or anybody elses money knows how vital it is to get the priorities right and use reduced income in the most effective, value-focussed way possible. And over and above this, the mistreatment of staff and the anxiety raised among service users who fear the support will not be there when they need it means they (NSFT) are in danger of creating even more mental ill health.
I look back on my time in that unit and am amazed at the professionalism and the humanity shown me by the staff in the midst of all that they were going through. Ladies and gentlemen I salute you!
What’s it like to work for NSFT?…..simple answer demoralising. Every week we are told we aren’t working ‘hard enough or in the ‘correct way’…..as each week the rules about how the team should operate change ………………..and it goes on. Comments such as the ‘board is watching else’…….what next CCTV in the toilets.? This low level intimidation does not motivate anyone. I notice on the board’s agenda for their next meeting was ‘Staff Morale’. Perhaps if the board actually came and spoke to some of the staff they might have an idea of how staff morale is…..The fact that they seem not visit the struggling teams speaks volumes. The truth being they don’t appear to want to hear When did you hear a board member actually praise the staff, or teams in public.? Management at Mid Staffs didn’t want to listen to staff telling them of the appalling situation, which lead to hundreds of unnecessary deaths…….No doubt I will be accused of scaremongering, but I absolutely dread reading about some tragedy, and the poor staff who will have tried to avert it. I want to assure service users and their families is that the front line staff are doing all they can, giving up their own time, staying late, coming in on days off in many cases to try and give people the care and treatment they would want for their own loved ones….
Staff morale? Don’t make me laugh! NSFT treats its employees – substantive and contract – with total contempt. In-fighting amongst the directors (who frankly couldn’t direct traffic) is so vicious that it’s surprising most of them are willing to be in the same room! Not one is competent to do the job they do but, rather than do the decent thing, they just blame those down the food chain.
There’s no strategy at all, merely knee-jerk reactions to everything. Staff are confused and demoralised, and the very people who are supposed to manage that are the cause! It’s high time that Monitor and the CQC et al stepped in and put a stop to this debacle!
I was interviewed for my Band 6 community post and of course was offered a Band 5. After ten years service working in a busy community team I felt betrayed and cheated. So instead of giving them the pleasure of my experience I quit. I left behind a wage and a caseload. And do you know its the caseload I worried about more. Who was going to take on my patients, some of whom I’d worked with for a considerable time? But I couldn’t stay and watch the car crash that was coming.
I left in June 2013, and I haven’t felt as good both physically and mentally for an age. There is life outside of NSFT if you are creative enough to take the leap of faith and tighten your belt.
David, this story is repeated time and time at NSFT. Valuable and skilled people downgraded, service users put at risk, so that senior managers – and their families/associates – can line their own pockets.
If nothing else, at least you can be satisfied that you ‘did the right thing’.
Hilarious discover on LinkedIn this morning – you really couldn’t make it up!
Why Work for NSFT – The Benefits
- Extended funded training opportunities – such as flexible nursing and returning practice nursing
- Access to NHS Pension scheme
- Relocation of up to £5k Flexible working
- Child care voucher
- Lease car
- Cycle to work sceme [sic]
- Discounted gym membership
- A minimum of 5 weeks holidays plus Bank holidays
- Free physio, occupational health support
- Pilates and Yoga available at some sites
- Constitution of service and recognition of previous NHS services if transferring from another Trust
Surely they’ve forgotten…
- Unprecedented lack of morale among staff
- Complete disregard for the safety and welfare of their service users
- Incompetent senior managers who refuse to do the right thing and go
- A practice of summary dismissal of anyone who’s face doesn’t fit
… the “benefits” are numerous!
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