NHS staff morale at record low at Wigan's hospitals trust

Morale among staff at Wigan’s hospitals trust is at a record low, new figures show.

But bosses at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) say it was still placed at the top the table for staff morale at Greater Manchester hospitals.

Morale among staff at WWL was scored at six out of 10 in autumn 2022 – down from 6.1 the year before and the lowest since comparable records began in 2018.

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Across the country, the overall morale score – which is a composite score of 13 questions, focusing on stress, work pressure and desires to leave – also fell to its lowest point in the five years.

Across the country, the overall morale score for NHS staff fell to its lowest point in five yearsAcross the country, the overall morale score for NHS staff fell to its lowest point in five years
Across the country, the overall morale score for NHS staff fell to its lowest point in five years

Morale was scored at 5.7 out of 10, down from 5.8 last year and a peak of 6.1 in 2020.

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Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: "It is no surprise, given that we have now witnessed several months of industrial action by NHS staff, that those same staff, who have worked through extraordinary challenges over the past few years, have expressed their feelings of deep frustration in these responses.

"It is, of course, concerning to see that 17 per cent of staff considering leaving for another job will do so as soon as they find one and that, despite the continuing efforts of health leaders to recruit and retain employees, the numbers of those willing to recommend the NHS as an employer has also dropped."

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He highlighted staff dissatisfaction regarding pay, while industrial action has been taken by nurses, doctors and ambulance workers seeking pay increases during the cost-of-living crisis.

The survey showed just 25.6 per cent of staff across the country were satisfied with their level of pay – the lowest level in five years and substantially down on a peak of 38 per cent in 2019.

In Wigan, 30 per cent of staff were happy with their salaries last year – down from 38.4 per cent the year before.

Tracy Boustead, WWL's interim chief people officer, said: “We are making positive changes for our staff, which in turn, will provide better outcomes for patients and service users, particularly when considering how heavily impacted the trust has been by significant demand on services over the past two winters and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The National Staff Survey gives us a fantastic opportunity to listen to what matters most to our staff, and this year the trust achieved our highest ever response rate to the survey at 35 per cent, a significant increase on last year.

“WWL ranked number one in Greater Manchester compared to all other acute and community trusts for morale, putting us in the top 10 nationally, as well as first in Greater Manchester for the second year in a row when recommending our trust as a place to work. This is also underpinned by our staff rating us as the first in Greater Manchester for feeling safe and healthy and second for staff engagement, as well as high scores on equality and diversity.

“These key results show the strength in our foundations and are a credit to the way our staff work together for our patients and each other.”