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Staff morale affected by NHS reforms

2nd April 2014

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said there has been a drop in staff morale following the structural reform of the NHS.

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A report by the King's Fund found that staff morale was the greatest concern to the finance directors of NHS trusts who answered its survey.

NHS staff morale is said to be one of many challenges facing Simon Stevens as he takes up the post of chief executive of NHS England today.

The survey is conducted every three months. The most recent report asked 79 finance directors to select from a list, the three aspects that worry them the most about their organisations performance. Staff morale was chosen by 31 of them. (39%)

There are limitations to the survey:

  • The number of respondents to the survey is relatively low.
  • There has been different methods to measure the reports such as previously only asking for one concern, rather than three.
  • The survey does not explain to what extend morale has fallen or whether it is related to the decreasing concern over other issues.
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    The rise in concern, brought up by the survey, is more recent than the structural changes and could be due to other factors. It has also been noted, that the report does not necessarily reflect lower morale among staff. Just that greater relative concern is placed by directors. It doesn't give us enough information to confidently attribute their concerns to NHS reform.


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