A damning new survey has revealed that staff at the NHS Trust running the Kent & Canterbury experience the highest levels of work-related stress anywhere in the country.
97% said they experience unrealistic time pressures, with 40% feeling overstretched “often” or “always”.
Another 60% of staff say they do unpaid hours and only a quarter of respondents think there are enough staff to do their jobs properly.
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Confidence in communications from senior managers has declined every year since 2016. Only one in three staff believes communications are effective – a statistic highlighted by the survey as a significant decrease from last year.
Bullying among staff, an ongoing cause of concern in the NHS, has been removed from this year’s survey but two thirds of staff reported that relationships between colleagues are ‘strained’.
One third of staff say they often consider leaving the organisation.
Last year, the Canterbury Journal revealed how former staff nurse Jacky Moskovits lost her job after criticising management and working conditions within the trust.
The latest survey comes during a period of turmoil as plans for Canterbury’s hospital remains unsure, and a consultation into whether a new hospital will be built in the city has recently been postponed to June 2020 leaving hundreds of staff with uncertain futures.
A spokesperson for East Kent Hospitals said: “We welcome the results of the latest staff survey and are fully committed to acting on feedback from staff. This is a time of immense change and growing demand on our services and this is reflected in the results.
“It’s great that 47.2% of staff responded, almost 3% above the national average.
“Our staff are our most important asset and we need to make sure they are cared for as well as our patients.
“Because of this we have started making some big changes. For example, creating smaller care groups which are led by clinicians, so they can focus more closely on a smaller group of services and patients.
“As a trust, we have adopted the ‘Listening into Action’ methodology, empowering teams to lead immediate, local actions they know will make a difference for staff and patients.
“We are refurbishing and updating areas throughout the Trust, and installing air-conditioning on wards to improve working conditions.
“In the last ten months, we have recruited 1,251 members of staff, and have made the recruitment process easier for recruiting managers and teams.
“We know we have much more to do and are aware that seeing improvements as a result of these changes takes time.”