31 March 2022

Royal Papworth Hospital has been named as one of the best NHS organisations for both patient care and staff health and wellbeing, according to the 2021 NHS Staff Survey.

In a new question introduced for this year’s survey, 68.5% of Royal Papworth employees who responded to the survey either agreed or strongly agreed that the hospital takes positive action on health and wellbeing, the best score out of all 13 specialist acute Trusts in the country. The average score nationally across all acute Trusts was 57.1%. 

The hospital also scored highly for providing excellent care, with more than 91% agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would be happy with the standard of care if a friend or relative needed treatment (national average 67.8%), and more than 89% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that care was a top priority (national average 75.6%). 

This high quality of care is being maintained despite fatigue among the workforce, with Royal Papworth scoring worst within its specialist trust peer group for burnout and exhaustion, though this is in line with the national NHS average.

“As a specialist heart and lung hospital treating the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients from our region, while still maintaining our urgent and emergency pathways such as lung cancer, transplantation and heart attacks, it is no surprise to see the pressures being felt by staff confirmed in this data,” said Oonagh Monkhouse, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development.

“All of this means that we need to ensure that staff mental and physical health is supported, both in terms of good work-life balance and that we work efficiently and effectively to meet the growing demands on our services. We have put in place a number of initiatives at Royal Papworth Hospital to support colleagues in this way, including training and recruiting health and wellbeing facilitators and offering mindfulness webinars, among others.

“It is very reassuring for us to know that our staff feel this investment has made a positive impact on them, and it is also great to see that despite all of these issues, the quality of care given to patients remains high.”

The survey also looks at the experience of specific staff groups; although there have been some improvements in the four key Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) areas, the experience of colleagues from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background has also seen a deterioration in some indicators.

There has been a significant increase in the percentage of BAME staff who reported being bullied or harassed by the public, with more than one in four (26.8%) subjected to abuse, while at the same time the number of white staff being abused fell. 

“It is very disappointing to see that overall violence, aggression and discrimination from patients, visitors or the public towards staff has increased. This deterioration is in line with the feedback we have had over the past year from staff reporting greater disrespect, but it is particularly upsetting to see that our BAME colleagues have borne the brunt of this.

“We are committed to continuing the work we have started internally with line management support, mentoring programmes and a real focus on our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda to also improve the experience our BAME colleagues have within the organisation. These results tell us we have more to do, and we are determined to progress at pace.”

Results this year were framed around the seven NHS People Promise elements, plus two themes – staff engagement and morale – which have been reported in previous years.

Royal Papworth Hospital performed better than the national average in all nine areas, and when compared against other specialist trusts in line with the average in five areas and below average in the other four.

The hospital had one of the best response rates to the survey in the country, with 70% of staff answering the questions between September and November 2021, during which time the NHS was responding to another surge of COVID-19 hospitalisations.  

Oonagh said: “This is the best response rate we have ever had, up 5% on last year, and is the fourth successive year we have seen an increase in staff giving their feedback. This means our results give a good and reliable insight into what our staff are feeling and thinking and we will use the data to look at what we do well, where we need to do better and bring about positive change.

“All of this helps us to have happier, healthier and more engaged staff, which in turn helps to improve the quality of care we provide to patients.”

Related links

Explore and download results for the 2021 NHS Staff Survey