Concerns over 'safety culture' at Shropshire's major hospitals revealed in staff survey

Concerns over the 'safety culture' at Shropshire's major hospitals have been revealed in a survey of its staff.

Princess Royal Hospital, Telford
Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

Questions in the 2020 NHS Staff Survey were divided into themes and the results show that the overall 'safety culture' score for Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust was the worst nationally.

Within that, 62.6 per cent of respondents said they would feel secure raising concerns about unsafe clinical practice and 45.2 per cent said they were confident the organisation would address their concern.

More than 2,500 members of staff responded to the survey of the 6,362 workers who were eligible to take part.

A new report, which will be discussed by SaTH's board of directors at a meeting today, says the majority of the theme scores in the survey 'indicate a challenging picture' for the trust, which manages Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

It says: "From the 10 themes, eight fall below the average of the 128 benchmarked acute trusts with two achieving average scores."

It comes as board members will also be asked today to approve a programme of work on culture and leadership across the trust.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Defend Our NHS group says results of the survey regarding the questions surrounding 'safety culture' at the trust are of particular concern.

Campaigner Gill George

Gill George, chair of the group, said “This is incredibly worrying.

"When your own staff tell you that patient safety is poor and getting worse, you have to listen and take action."

The report to the trust board says the themes with the largest disparities in scores between SaTH and the highest performing acute trust nationally were around safety culture, health and wellbeing, quality of care and morale.

Results from the survey, which was carried out during October and November last year, show that 48.2 per cent of respondents at SaTH had felt unwell as a result of work related stress in the previous 12 months.

While just 22.4 per cent replied 'yes' or 'definitely' when asked 'Does your organisation take positive action on health and well-being?'

Around one in five respondents at the trust said they would probably look for a job at a new organisation in the next 12 months.

Almost three quarters of staff agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the quality of care they give to patients or service users – ranking the trust near the bottom for that particular question. The best score achieved by a trust was 91.6 per cent, with the average being 82 per cent.

Louise Barnett, chief executive of The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Only around three in five staff at SaTH who responded to the survey agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to deliver the care they aspire to.

And just 52.4 per cent replied 'often' or 'always' when asked if they look forward to going to work.

Hospital bosses say they are committed to making the trust a better place to work.

Louise Barnett, SaTH's chief executive, said: “We perform significantly below others in six of the 10 themes and we have remained the same on the other four. "These results are not where we would all like to be.

“Clearly this is concerning and we have some way to go to improve our culture and make SaTH a better place for everyone.

“Earlier this year we launched ‘Making a Difference Together’ which has provided colleagues with an opportunity to be part of creating a positive culture that will benefit our working lives and the care we provide to our patients.

“It will take time to improve our organisational culture but we remain absolutely committed to making SaTH a better place to work.”

The trust's board of directors met online from 1pm today.

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