health, public sector

Lothian NHS staff happy – but room for improvement

NEARLY 80 per cent of health workers in the Lothians enjoy working for the NHS. Even more think they are allowed to use their initiative to do their jobs.

But only half of staff are aware of the health service’s long-term goals – and one in 10 workers said they had experienced bullying at work.

The findings were revealed today (March 25) in a poll carried out for NHS Lothian by survey giants MORI.

Health chiefs said they were pleased with a wide range of positive responses from staff – but agreed there was room for improvement. They said that bullying or discrimination would not be tolerated.

James Barbour, the chief executive of Lothian NHS Board, said: “Whilst an overwhelming majority of our staff enjoy working for the health service, and most believe we provide a safe and secure working environment, one in ten of the staff who responded felt they had been bullied at some point.

“NHS Lothian has a strong workplace code which does not tolerate bullying or discrimination of any sort. We’ll be looking at ways to work with staff and their representatives to communicate and enforce this code more effectively.

“We’ll also be looking at all of the other issues raised by staff through the survey and have already started work on an action plan.

“While I’m pleased that the overall response has been positive, there is room for improvement – and we’ll be acting to address areas of concern.”

MORI polled nearly 27,000 NHS staff across the Lothians at the end of last year. Around 4,500 staff (17 per cent) responded.

The survey found that:

  • Seventy seven per cent of the staff enjoyed working for the NHS.
  • Eighty three per cent agreed the job offered them the opportunity to use their initiative.
  • Sixty three per cent felt they were given the opportunity to be involved in discussions or decisions on changes, and three in four (77 per cent) felt they were able to put ideas forward for improvement.
  • Almost two in three people (57 per cent) thought NHS Lothian provides them with good training and development opportunities.
  • And nearly seven out of ten people (68 per cent) agreed that the NHS provided a safe and secure working environment.

The survey also found that only half of the employees were aware of the organisation’s long-term goals. A similar number were not satisfied with the level of training and development on offer.

One in five respondents said they had been victims of discrimination and one in ten felt they had been bullied and harassed.

However, bosses were pleased to see that approval ratings in many areas, such as training and internal communications, had actually improved since a similar poll in 2002. They are keen increase satisfaction ratings across the board.

Mr Barbour said “the survey was carried out as part on an NHS Scotland initiative to measure the performance of all organisations within the health service. The survey aimed to find out staff views on a wide range of work-related issues, such as communication, training, employment rights and safety.”

He added: “One of the main aims of a staff survey should be to find out how we’re performing as an organisation – and identify areas to make the NHS a better place to work.

“Happier staff unquestionably means a better service to the public.”

Eddie Egan, the employee director for the Board, said: “Our main aim now is to address the issues that concern staff. Whilst we’re pleased at the positive responses coming through in the survey, there are areas we can improve upon. Items such as the need for better training support, for example, will be pushed through as a priority.”

He added: “Bullying and harassment concerns are at an unacceptable levels and must be examined by the Board with urgency.”

A full copy of the staff survey is available online at:

Issued by Adrian Mahoney of
The PR Store on behalf of NHS Lothian