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Annual NHS staff survey reveals Barking and Dagenham mental health trust Nelft is underperforming

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 March 2017

Picture: PA/Lynne Cameron

Picture: PA/Lynne Cameron

PA Wire/PA Images

Staff stress levels at an NHS trust providing mental health services in Barking and Dagenham are worse than nationally, a survey has found.

This graphic from the NHS Staff Survey shows North East London NHS Foundation Trust was rated as underperforming by employees in 20 of 32 categories. Source: nhsstaffsurveys.comThis graphic from the NHS Staff Survey shows North East London NHS Foundation Trust was rated as underperforming by employees in 20 of 32 categories. Source: nhsstaffsurveys.com

The results of the latest NHS Staff Survey show North East London NHS Foundation Trust (Nelft) was rated below average when compared to similar trusts nationally in 20 of 32 categories .

Two thirds of staff at Nelft said they had attended work in the last three months despite feeling unwell because of pressure from colleagues, managers or themselves. Thirty-eight per cent reported feeling unwell due to work-related stress in the last year.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said: “It is clear from the report that staff at Nelft feel overstretched and under pressure, with a rise in staff feeling unwell due to work-related stress in the last 12 months.

“It is no coincidence that with increasing staff pressure comes increasing risk to care, and it is something that needs to be addressed.”

Jon Cruddas MP said Nelft staff were 'overstretched and under pressure'. Picture: PA/Jane MingayJon Cruddas MP said Nelft staff were 'overstretched and under pressure'. Picture: PA/Jane Mingay

The poll also found that staff confidence in reporting clinically unsafe practice, and errors and near misses in the last month, were below average.

But staff were satisfied with opportunities for flexible working and with levels of responsibility and support they received from managers at the trust.

A Nelft spokesman said: “While it is disappointing that the staff survey figures are slightly down in some categories, the results were similar to what we expected after the disappointing CQC inspection report and its effect on staff morale.”

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report last September found the trust “required improvement”.

MP Margaret Hodge said high levels of staff morale were essential to the success of the NHS. Picture: Steve PostonMP Margaret Hodge said high levels of staff morale were essential to the success of the NHS. Picture: Steve Poston

It said vulnerable patients were at risk of hanging themselves and was highly critical of the use of restraints on patients and inconsistent access to psychological therapies.

Services at the Brookside unit at Goodmayes Hospital – Nelft’s child and adolescent mental health wards – were heavily criticised.

But Nelft bosses say actions to improve standards are already underway.

“Since the survey was completed our Brookside Unit, which we temporarily closed for renovations, has received a glowing endorsement from the CQC,” said the Nelft spokesman.

“With that encouraging news and the resources being put into staff wellbeing and retention, we believe the trust is currently in a more positive position than the results imply.”

Barking MP Margaret Hodge said high levels of staff morale were essential to the success of the NHS.

“I hope the trust will reflect on this survey and do all they can to ensure staff feel supported and motivated,” she said.

HOW DID NELFT COMPARE TO OTHER NHS TRUSTS?

The NHS Staff Survey shows how North East London NHS Foundation Trust (Nelft) staff rated their employer compared to combined mental health or learning disability and community trusts nationwide.

BETTER THAN AVERAGE

* 11 per cent of staff experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or the public in the last 12 months (15pc nationally).

* 90pc of staff agreed their role made a difference to patients (89pc nationally).

WORSE THAN AVERAGE

* 67pc of staff attended work in the last three months despite feeling unwell because of pressure from a manager, colleague or themselves (55pc nationally).

* Only 50pc of staff said they would recommend Nelft as a workplace (57pc nationally).

* 55pc of staff would be happy with the standard of care provided by Nelft if a friend or relative needed treatment (66pc nationally).

Explore the findings in more detail via the NHS staff survey website

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