Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mental Block?

Little quiz: what's missing from the following report?

STAFF at Somerset’s main provider of mental health services enjoy high levels of job satisfaction. And they believe the personal care they provide is appreciated by patients and relatives.

Those were among the findings in the annual NHS Staff Satisfaction Survey for Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust by the Care Quality Commission. The survey asked staff their views on issues such as working conditions, how they see their role and responsibilities, job satisfaction, training and career progression.

The results show Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is among the top 20% of English mental health trusts. Findings included:
*94% of staff said they make a difference to patients.
*85% feel valued by colleagues.
*86% say they have an interesting job.
*84% received job-relevant training, learning or development in the past year.
*96% said the trust provides equal opportunities for career progression and promotion.

But there was lower satisfaction about the threat of physical violence or verbal abuse from some patients and relatives.

The trust’s director of human resources, Andre Frullo, said: “We’re proud that the results of this independent survey showed we have a highly motivated team committed to delivering high quality patient care. “We’re mindful of the pressures faced by our staff and the trust board understand that a fully engaged workforce is critical to driving through the changes needed to meet the challenges in the future.

“However, we’re not complacent and continually work with staff and unions to further improve the working environment and support our staff to deliver the highest quality healthcare.”

Spot it? Yup, patients. It's good that staff feel they are making a difference, but whether or not they actually are is about the patients themselves, not the staff. I guess the 'top 20%' figure refers simply to staff satisfaction, and not overall performance. And you probably want happy staff in a place dealing with mental health. Having said that, you probably don't want to be greeted with a loud and cheery 'good morning Mr Keen' as you nervously approach the desk - mental health is still, sadly, one of those issues where we'd rather keep it secret.

Speaking of which, has anyone heard a party leader talking about mental health, stress, depression, etc., which hits about 1/4 of the population and has massive costs both socially and financially for the UK? Me neither.


  1. Why are the views of patients missing from that report? Because it's the Staff Satisfaction Survey.

    The Care Quality Conmmission ran a survey on patients that have been inpatients for acute mental health in 2009 where Somerset Partnership was rated as better than average. There's also one survey being run at the moment for users of community mental health services which should be published soon.

    Happy and fulfilled staff work harder, have less sickness and produce better outcomes. Happy staff are a good thing for the NHS.

  2. Thanks Andy - my concern is that staff who believe they're offering a good service hold that belief based on the evidence, so it's good to hear that the patient responses are positive too.