EADT: ‘Our NHS staff deserve better’, watchdog warns over poor survey results

In a Special Report, Emily Townsend of the East Anglian Daily Times reports:

More NHS staff in Suffolk look forward to going to work – but rising numbers of workers are reporting being bullied, harassed or abused by managers.

Thousands of health workers from across the region have had their say in the latest NHS staff survey for 2019.

There were several poor scores for the East of England Ambulance Service and the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT)

Andy Yacoub, of independent watchdog Healthwatch Suffolk, said the county’s NHS staff deserve better.

He added: “The ranking of ‘worst’ or ‘near worst in the country’ appears against too many categories for our regional trusts.

“Our local NHS workforce and their volunteers deserve better.

Imagine if Norfolk had an independent watchdog.

Instead it has Healthwatch Norfolk.

Meanwhile, the NSFT scored poorly for staff feeling ill with work-related stress in the last year, with 49.8% – the worst score for a mental health trust in the whole country.

Almost one in four workers (28.4%) felt their role was not making a difference to patients, which was again the worst score in the country.

The NHS Staff Survey 2019 is appalling in many other areas and confirms what we have repeatedly said about the disastrous radical restructure and the toxic management culture at NSFT.

Mental health doctor and Central Suffolk and north Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter said the NSFT’s results were “clearly disappointing”.

Calling Dan Poulter a mental health doctor is a bit of a stretch, considering he is supposed to be a hardworking MP for Suffolk rather than working 28 hours per week as a junior doctor in training in London at the age of 41 after ‘giving up’ his job as a junior Health Minister.

Then again, back in 2009 when he was selected as a Conservative candidate, the EADT itself described Dan Poulter as ‘a consultant gynaecologist from Surrey’.

How did the press get the idea that Dan Poulter was a consultant NHS doctor when he was a junior doctor working locum shifts in A&Es alongside being a Surrey councillor?

Campaigners fighting for better mental health services said the survey results reveal a lack of improvement and leadership.

“NSFT received the lowest scores of any mental health trust for health and wellbeing of staff, immediate managers, morale, quality of care and staff engagement,” said a spokesman for the Campaign for Better Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“We and our local MPs were promised new management and rapid improvements within weeks more than a year ago.

“The board told us that the radical restructure introduced new management and clinical leadership.

“The CQC claimed that the trust had improved.

He added: “But frontline staff, patients, carers and coroners know the truth – the NHS staff survey exposes the lack of genuine improvement and clinical leadership.

“More than 40% of doctors and one-third of registered nurses say they regularly think about leaving the mental health trust, with 18% of doctors and 17% of registered nurses saying they intend to leave as soon as they can find alternative employment.

“At a mental health trust with hundreds of vacancies and long waiting lists, this is extremely alarming for patients and carers.”

Again, former Professor Warren repeats convenient but highly misleading claims that NSFT has 175 more clinical staff by including administrative, clerical, unregistered and support staff. The data we have seen (which we had to request under the Freedom of Information Act) showed a significant decrease in the number of doctors, for instance.

In the NHS Staff Survey 2019, just 21.9 per cent of NSFT staff with regular face-to-face contact with patients strongly agree or agree that ‘There are enough staff at this organisation for me to do my job properly’.

Again, former Professor Warren claims that NSFT has strong clinical leadership when the staff survey clearly finds the polar opposite. We will address this claim in detail using the survey evidence soon.

Former Professor Warren claims the management is new.

Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Richardson, who now shares a room with Amy Eagle, has been creating havoc for eighteen months.

The Chair, Marie Gabriel, and the Director of Nursing, Diane Hull, have been in their jobs for more than a year, even if they are rarely seen in public.

Former Professor Warren is approaching a year in his £175,000 per year job (even though he and the Deputy Chief Executive, lawyer Mason Fitzgerald, are quite incredibly not employed by NSFT).

Former Professor Warren and Marie Gabriel have promoted or re-employed many of the appalling managers responsible for the toxic culture and crisis in mental health services over the last six years, which has in turn led to the appalling NHS Staff Survey results this year.

This is not new management.

Former Professor Warren claims that NSFT has ‘improved’ although in many important categories this is far from the truth.

How low is the bar when comparing performance against the leadership of Antek Lejk, who went on holiday while the CQC inspected?

The clear evidence is that NSFT is and remains the worst performing mental health trust in the country.

If you want to read the lame excuses and disingenuous claims of former Professor Warren, click on the image below to read the article in full on the EADT website:

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