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The staff at Treliske suffering from stress

The staff at Treliske suffering from stress

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:30am 10th March 2019.

It has been revealed that two out of five staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals reported stress-related illnesses last year.

Healthcare experts say the new figures indicate an "alarming downturn" in the well-being of healthcare workers.

The 2018 NHS Staff Survey revealed that 41% of workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust had felt unwell due to work-related stress over the last 12 months.

That's higher than in 2017, when the figure was 37%.

In addition, more than half the respondents admitted they had felt pressured into turning up at work during the last three months despite feeling too unwell to cope.

"We are listening to colleagues and we are aware some staff have experienced stress, anxiety and depression; for some of those individuals that is related to work and for others it is their home life - however this can have an effect on our staff at work.

"We are focussing our efforts on how we support our colleagues at work and have a number of areas we are currently working on."

Kerry Eldridge, our Director of HR and Organisational Development at RCHT

hospitals stress RADAR

What is RCHT doing to help support staff?

  • We are working with Cornwall Council colleagues to commission Managers mental health first aid training Our new being brilliant leadership development programme which looks at how we lead our colleagues with kindness, care and compassion to create a culture which colleagues can speak openly and are supported at work.
  • We are looking at an early intervention service as part of our Occupational Health and Wellbeing service to make contact with colleagues who go off sick due to stress, anxiety and depression to ensure their wellbeing and to sign post to services to ensure they receive support.
  • We are reviewing on-line CBT training as one area of support for staff.
  • We have committed to work with our teams and review flexible rostering and working for all staff. We have invested in a new role who will oversee the process and lead the flexible working review. Using national best practice and learning linked to patient care outcomes and shift durations. This is one of the pledges in the NHS long term plan
  • We have a range of health, wellness at work and financial wellbeing support available for all colleagues and we are working to bring it all together to make it easier for colleagues to access information on our new and improved staff intranet.
  • We are working with colleagues who all do different jobs, some are managers and some aren't, to review our policies and the usability of the policies. One of the policies receiving priority focus is our attendance at work policy to ensure we have a supportive policy and process in place to improve wellness at work.
  • Our staff engagement and communication is being reviewed to improve how we engage and share learning in our hospitals.
  • We are improving our vacancy and retention rate and will continue to drive hard with the work as we know that some colleagues can feel under pressure when their work area is short of staff.
  • We are having a new approach to bullying and harassment with 'its not ok' as a campaign and have our second annual RESPECT conference planned open for all staff groups.
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Unison's head of health Sara Gorton said government ministers were not paying enough attention to growing problems within the NHS.

She added: "With so few staff, it's no wonder the pressures of working in the NHS are making so many health workers ill."

The survey, which received 1,946 responses from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals employees, also asked staff about their experience of working at the trust.

The majority of staff were working overtime, with 74% saying they worked extra unpaid hours on a weekly basis.

More than a quarter of respondents said they had been verbally abused or bullied by patients or members of the public, while 13% had faced physical violence.

The results also revealed that one in three staff had been verbally abused or bullied by fellow members of staff.

doctor health

 "After years of holding up against all the odds, these figures confirm an alarming downturn in the well-being of hard-working NHS staff.

"These pressures are not just a matter for staff themselves but have a knock-on effect on patients too."

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at healthcare charity the Nuffield Trust

Across England, four out of 10 NHS workers reported feeling unwell due to stress in 2018 - the highest level in five years.

Neil Churchill, director of patient experience at NHS England, said: "Whilst there are a number of positives in this year's survey, it is also clear that local employers can do more to improve.

"We would expect all trusts to listen to the results from their staff survey and take appropriate action."

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