Survey shows local NHS staff have good work life balance


For the second year running, staff who work for the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield have said they have a better work life balance than colleagues in similar organisations across the country.

As part of the National 2006 NHS Staff Survey, staff across the country were asked what they think about their working life, which included questions about work life balance, team working, job satisfaction, training, management and supervision, violence and health and safety.

The results, published today, are based on the views of 51% of staff surveyed within the Trust, who took time out of their busy jobs to say how they feel.

Staff were asked a series of questions to assess the extent to which they believe that the Trust and their immediate manager are committed to helping them find a good balance between their work and home life. Possible scores range from 1 to 5, with 1 representing virtually no commitment, and 5 representing excellent commitment The Trust’s score of 3.64 was in the highest 20% of mental health / learning disability trusts in England, this also shows an increase since 2003.

The Trust has also seen an increase in the extent of positive feeling within the Trust when staff were asked a series of questions about various issues including communication within the trust, employee involvement, innovation and patient care. The Trust’s score of 3.06 was above average for mental health / learning disability trusts in England. Furthermore, there has been a decrease in the number of staff who say they have experienced work related stress.

Other results were also very positive, these included: • 96% of staff have received training, learning or development in the last 12 months and 79% said this had helped them perform their jobs better, which is one of the highest scores in the country for mental health/learning disability trusts • 81% of staff have received health and safety training in the previous 12 months. This is above the national average and has more than doubled in the past 2 years • 31% of staff said they had suffered from work related stress at some point in the last 12 months. This is one of the lowest scores in the country for similar organisations and has decreased from last year. • Staff at the Trust are less likely to leave their jobs than staff in other mental health/learning disability trusts and feel less work pressure.

However, there were some results that indicate a need for improvement, such as: • 35% of staff had experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients or their relatives which is above the national average. However, staff’s perception of how the Trust responds to this issue has risen from previous years and is above the national average. • 38% staff said they worked in a well structured team environment, this is below the national average. • Although 72% of staff said they had taken advantage of flexible working options in their job, this is below the national average and has fallen slightly from last year’s results. • 47% of staff at the Trust said they had received an appraisal in the last 12 months, a decrease since the 2005 survey. • 67% of staff said that they work longer than their contracted hours

Speaking about the results of the survey, Alan Davis, Director of Human Resources for the Trust said, "The South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust is committed to listening to the views of it’s staff and we’re delighted with the positive feedback we’ve got from this survey, particularly that staff feel they have a good work life balance and receive regular training. "

He continues, "The staff survey is important as it allows the Trust to see where we are doing well and what areas we need to improve, which ultimately will help us to provide high quality care for local people. Continuing to listen to the views of staff, people who use our services, their carers and the general public will become increasingly important as we progress towards becoming a Foundation Trust – a new type of NHS organisation that is based on membership."

Survey shows local NHS staff have good work life balance

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