Less than two-thirds of staff at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust happy with standard of care

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Less than two-thirds of staff at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust would feel happy if a friend or relative needed to be treated by the organisation, according to a survey.

The annual poll of NHS staff across England has revealed a drop in satisfaction with care standards, while concern over workforce numbers, discontent with pay and work-related stress were also highlighted by health service workers nationally.

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At Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which covers both Bedford and Luton & Dunstable Hospitals – 65% of staff who responded to the 2021 survey said that if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation.

Bedford HospitalBedford Hospital
Bedford Hospital

This was down from 70% the year before, according to the report, which included responses from 3,283 staff at the trust.

Hospital chiefs acknowledged the findings but said they weren’t surprised, given that staff were dealing with an increase in Covid-19 patients due to the Omicron variant.

Of the survey respondents at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust, just 27% said there are enough staff at their organisation for them to do their job properly – a considerable drop from 38% in 2020.

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Some 46% of staff had felt unwell as a result of work-related stress in the previous 12 months, while 37% often or always felt burnt out because of their job.

Luton & Dunstable HospitalLuton & Dunstable Hospital
Luton & Dunstable Hospital

And roughly 67% said they feel enthusiastic about their job, compared to 73% a year earlier.

David Carter, chief executive for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust we encourage all our colleagues to take part in the annual NHS Staff Survey, as it provides valuable information to help us understand how our staff are feeling and where to focus our efforts.

“In line with all acute trusts, some areas of our results did deteriorate, which wasn’t surprising given the results were a snapshot of how staff were feeling in the autumn – 18 months into the pandemic, dealing with high demand for non-Covid care, and an increase in Covid-19 patients as the Omicron variant was beginning to emerge.

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“In addition, as a newly merged trust many departments were going through a lot of change during this time. Against that context, the results show we were fifth out of 13 acute trusts in the region for staff recommending the organisation as a place to work. This is a good foundation for us to build on over the next few years.

“Our staff have worked tirelessly over the last two years and continue to do amazing things in the face of the most extraordinary pressures. We recognise that we’ve asked a lot from our staff over the past two years and as part of our plans to help them recover from the impact of the pandemic, we are increasing our efforts on key areas such as support, health and wellbeing initiatives and recruitment, to increase our workforce.”

The 2021 survey also reveals that just 33% of NHS workers across England are satisfied with their level of pay – it was 29% at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust.

It comes amid growing anger among unions over the pay of NHS workers.