NHS staff survey 2019 results

The National Staff Survey was carried out by Picker between October and November 2019. Picker was commissioned by 8 Ambulance Trusts in total.

Questionnaires were sent to 4,859 staff. There has been an increase in the response rate from 39% to 47% (2,307 questionnaires were returned this year). The average response for Ambulance Trusts is 54%.

Whilst EEAST is still below average for many of the scores, the majority are beginning to show improvement in the 2019 survey.

What we do well

Our patients

  • It is positive to see that 59% of staff believe that the Trust’s top priority is patient care (compared to 54% last year). The number of staff who receive regular updates on patient feedback is above the average and is one of our most improved scores at 39%. There have been improvements in the number of staff who believe that the Trusts acts on patient concerns (59%) and staff believe that patient feedback is used to make informed decisions in their area.
  • Just over 80% of staff are satisfied with the quality of care they give to patients (81% compared to 78% in 2018). This is on par with the average across Ambulance Trusts. The results are consistently high for the percentage of staff who feel their role makes a difference to patients at 86%.
  • There was also a small increase in the number of staff saying there was enough staff at the organisation to do your job properly (16% compared to 13% in 2018).
  • 63% of staff believe that the Trust acts fairly regarding career progression. This is below average. However, our retention is improving with a small increase in the numbers of staff who are not planning to leave the organisation (from 43% to 47%). In addition, 41% would recommend the organisation as a good place to work (an increase of 5%).

We have been actively recruiting over the past few months with an increased focus on ensuring we recruit to the areas where we have the most shortages particularly in the clinical workforce.

We are working hard to continue improving our retention figures, keeping our staff within the organisation. Retaining good people is one of our top priorities and your working environment should be a supportive one. Our focus is to look after your health and well-being, support your career development and create good workplace cultures and relationships. 

Management and leadership

  • Some of our scores relating to immediate managers and the support they provide to staff are lower when compared to the average, although all bar one has shown improvement since last year.
  • 48% feel that their immediate manager encourages them at work (compared to 46% last year) but only 35% of staff say that their immediate manager gives clear feedback (which is still below average).
  • The feedback also indicates that the engagement activity undertaken by senior managers is beginning to have an impact. The survey reported 70% of staff know who senior managers are, an increase of 5% since last year. Communication between senior managers is also reported as more effective with a 5% increase to 23%.

We are working to support managers across the Trust to own and lead in their own areas, providing them with the correct training and information to fulfil their role.

As part of Get Real Change training was delivered to all managers not just to support them in their managerial roles but also to offer them practical ways to support their own teams in times of change.

During Sep – Dec 2019, 25 workshops with over 300 members of staff from across the Trust took place exploring leadership within and the culture of the Trust. The sessions captured the stories and voice of many employees enabling key themes to shape the next phase of the leadership development programme.

Towards the end of 2019 staff were invited to air and share sessions run by an Executive member or to submit their thoughts of what it’s really like working at EEAST in an anonymous form online. The executive team are currently reviewing the comments and suggestions to develop the way we grow as an organisation and help improve our culture and leadership across the Trust.

Last week a set of priority behaviours was agreed by the Executive Leadership Team to support the Trust values. These are behaviours which will be modelled by the executive team and should be reflected by senior managers throughout the organisation.      

  • Offer positive encouragement and challenge
  • Ensure that our focus is always on delivering exemplary patient care
  • Find meaningful ways to engage and increase our visibility to staff
  • Challenge negative behaviours as they happen

There will be more to follow around the implementation and expectation of these priority behaviours.

  • The number of staff receiving appraisals has shown the biggest increase from 45% to 73% with 58% of staff having their training needs identified through their appraisal, which is above average.
  • Whilst the results have improved slightly, there are still some staff (21%) who have experienced bullying and harassment at work from managers or colleagues. The number of staff reporting bullying and harassment has increased (42% compared to 37% in 2018).

No one should not have to put up bullying and harassment at work. We encourage you to report this behaviour through HR, your manager or our Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) guardians. FTSU is led by Dr Tom Davis and is the platform for staff to talk freely and safely. The guardians will ensure that anyone who speaks up is treated fairly through any investigation, inquiries or reviews.


What we need to do better

  • There is a decrease in the numbers of staff agreeing that the organisation takes positive action on health and well-being. This is below the average in Ambulance Trusts of 23%. This is reflected in the number of staff feeling under pressure to come into work when unwell which has increased a little – but is still below the average.

The trust is committed to supporting the health and well-being of all our staff and is working with managers to ensure that individuals are supported to be able to look after themselves both physically and mentally and to have access to psychological and other health support services.

In January 2020, we announced Kays Medical as our new occupation health service partner, to work with us to provide a wide range of services to help staff stay healthy and well, along with additional support when this might be required.

  • 39% feel able to make suggestions to improve the work of their team / department (from 41% in 2018).

We are working to champion the development of new ideas which improve the way we provide our services and care for patients and support their implementation within the Trust. Working with Get Real Change, the first Dragons Den took place in December 2019 where seven ideas were successfully pitched to the Dragons (the Executive Team). Further sessions will be arranged this year and will be opened up for all staff.  

  • With the largest increase of appraisals being undertaken, there is now further work to do on the quality of appraisals. The results showed that only 17% had clear work objectives and 16% left the appraisal feeling valued.

We are working with managers to ensure that the appraisals process is a meaningful one and the conversations they have are the best they can be. This is being done both through refresher training for those managers conducting appraisals and reviewing the overall process to see that it is meeting the needs of our staff, and where it’s not, looking at what needs to change. The ongoing work to provide managers with the support and training they require will also benefit this process.

  • Just over half (53%) of staff with a disability believe that the organisation made adequate adjustment(s) to enable them to carry out their work. This is a decrease of 6% since last year.

The trust is committed to supporting everyone being able to carry out their work. We recognise that some staff have specific support requirements and that these should be identified, and reasonable adjustments made.

The EEAST Disability Support Network was set up early 2019 to raise awareness of disabilities and support staff who have a disability.


Next steps

  • Each sector/department (where possible) will be supplied with specific local results.
  • Local workshops run by managers and HR to discuss local results.
  • To develop an action plan to focus on the areas for improvement.
  • The action plan will be monitored though the Accountability meetings.


To read the full report, visit http://www.nhsstaffsurveyresults.com/ 


Published 18th February 2020


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