Nurses 'Lack NHS Optimism'

A New Study Shows Nurses Are Less Optimistic About The NHS Than Upper Executives

21.05.2014

A new study has found that only one in five nurses are optimistic about the future of the NHS.

While senior managers think the future for the public service will be bright, this is not shared by most front-line staff members, who have been hit by budget cuts and pay freezes across a number of trusts.

Research published by The Kings Fund think tank found a "disconnect" between the fears felt by doctors and nurses and board executives, according to the Telegraph.

The survey of 2,000 NHS staff found that managers were as much as three times more optimistic than doctors or nurses, with only 23 and 20 per cent respectively of the latter group professing "optimism".

This was compared to 63 per cent of NHS managers, who were also found to have more of a sense of pride in the service than front-line employees.

Nicola Hartley, director of Leadership Development at The King’s Fund said: "The survey reveals a mixed picture of leadership and compassion in the NHS. The disconnect between the views of executive directors and other staff, especially nurses and doctors, is cause for concern."

In addition to this, staff raised issues about human resourcing across the NHS, as only 30 per cent believe that swift and effective action was taken to tackle inappropriate behaviour, while just 39 per cent felt the NHS was "open and honest".

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: "It is really alarming to see these levels of complacency among those at the top of organisations, who seem really out-of-touch with the views of frontline staff."

This news comes as the financial state of the NHS is brought into question.

A survey of NHS financial directors published last month found that less than 20 per cent expect their trust to achieve their budget targets by the end of fiscal 2014 - which could create problems for the coalition government in the run-up to the 2015 election.

Expert Opinion
It is worrying to see the results of this survey and it is vital that there is action to address the issues which have been raised. It is vital that everything possible is done to engage staff to ensure they are clear on the core values and targets of the NHS, as this can only have a positive impact in terms of staff motivation and performance.

“Nursing is facing many pressures at present, with recent stories particularly focusing on staff shortages. It is absolutely vital that steps are taken to ensure that patient safety is not impacted by any of the issues which the profession currently faces.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner