Promoting partnership working in the NHS

NHS Staff Survey 2018

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) made the following response to the 2018 NHS Staff Survey results, published 26 February 2019.

The annual NHS Staff Survey gives a snapshot of how it feels to work in the NHS. SPF partners welcome the increasing number of staff completing the survey (487,227 in 2017 to 497,117 in 2018) as it makes the results more comprehensive. The survey provides incredibly useful information on staff experience and can really help NHS organisations identify and address issues in partnership.

One such issue is bullying. The results show that there has been an increase in the number of staff reporting experiencing bullying, harassment or abuse from their manager (12.8 per cent in 2017 to 13.2 per cent in 2018) and from a colleague (18 per cent in 2017 to 19.1 per cent in 2018). This increase, to an already high level, is concerning. The SPF will continue efforts to address this issue and urge managers and trade union representatives to use the information, tools and resources on the tackling bullying web page on the SPF website, in partnership, to build positive workplace cultures in their organisation. The SPF will use the 2018 NHS Staff Survey results to inform its thinking for year three of its Tackling bullying: call to action.

There has been an improvement in the percentage of staff who experienced at least one incident of physical violence from service users, their relatives or other members of the public in the last 12 months (15.4 per cent in 2017 to 14.5 per cent in 2018). However, there has been a decline in the number of staff who reported their last experience of physical violence. Addressing violence against staff is a priority for the SPF in 2019/20. We will work with and support NHS Improvement, who has lead responsibility for this area, to implement a violence reduction strategy to reduce the harm caused by violence against NHS staff.  

There are positive national NHS Staff Survey results that mirror the achievements of Mersey Care, winners of the 2018 HPMA partnership award. These show a four per cent increase in respondents saying that their organisation treats staff involved in an error, near miss or incident fairly and close to a two per cent improvement in staff reporting that their organisation takes action to ensure errors, near misses or incidents do not happen again. Other positives include, improvements in relation to staff recommending their organisation as a place to work and responding that they are happy, if a friend or relative needed treatment, with the standard of care they would receive in their organisation.

The 2018 NHS Staff Survey results are mixed. The SPF recognises the amazing partnership work going on in NHS organisations across the country and the challenges they face. We continue to promote a social partnership approach as an effective way to address these challenges. Through working together, employers and trade unions can achieve their shared aim of supporting staff, giving them a positive experience of work, so they are able to provide the best possible services or patient care.