The NHS Staff Survey results for NELFT are published today, so I felt it was appropriate to focus my blog this month on our staff. I am pleased to see a sustained response rate to the survey of over 60% and I know there will be lots of work taking place over the coming months to address the areas of improvement highlighted as well as ensuring we continue the staff engagement and health and wellbeing work that has seen significant improvements over the last few years.
We have focused on the development of our staff networks and I am particularly proud of the work by our staff in staff engagement and diversity. There is a large evidence base, particularly focused on the work of Professor Michael West, that demonstrates real improvements to patient outcomes when staff are engaged and feel valued. Our staff networks are just one of the ways we aim to engage with our staff.
We are the first Trust to achieve the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) across all categories, with our work being acknowledged outside the Trust. Also of note we have initiated a pioneering initiative ‘Reverse Mentoring’ where our frontline operational staff work directly with Board members acting as their mentors. The EMN and the EMN Strategy have been pivotal in changing the landscape for ethnic minority staff working in NELFT. The group has clear objectives that the network is working towards, ensuring that it engages with local BME community needs.
The Disability Staff Network is continuing to develop and the network have now drafted their strategy, and have run specialist training for staff to become disability champions within each directorate. These champions meet on a regular basis and will support the implementation of the strategy and support staff locally to ensure reasonable adjustments are being made for staff with disability. We have now set up a Dyslexia and SpLD (specific learning disabilities) Staff Forum and this has gathered momentum, with a high number of staff engaging and contributing in making change for staff with not just dyslexia but other forms of learning disabilities, e.g. dyspraxia, dyscalculia. The network has been pivotal in the development of guidelines for staff, implementation of Texthelp and Browse Aloud on the Trust website to make information more accessible for patients and staff. The Just Us Peer Support Group has been set up to support staff with concerns about their health and wellbeing in particular mental health. The forum is in it’s infancy, however, the staff who have engaged in this have found it helpful in terms of space for reflection and to have a forum that is confidential to engage in and seek support.
Our LGBT+ Network has a strong core membership and is focused on growing the membership in order for the network to develop a strategy. The network was crucial in the development and launch of the Rainbow lanyard scheme, staff wear the lanyards to promote inclusion and identify themselves as someone who can be approached about LGBT issues and concerns. This year, as part of LGBT history month, the network will be launching our allies scheme.
We now have a WoMen’s Staff network which is working to deliver a programme of awareness sessions about issues affecting both men and women at work. The network has already run workshops on the menopause, prostate cancer and mental health, with a series of workshops set up for the rest of the year. Topics the network has been asked to cover include, pregnancy and maternity, carers responsibilities, cervical cancer, healthy eating and nutrition.
The networks are only one element of the staff engagement work taking place across NELFT but a very important one to ensure we are providing support to staff and enabling our diverse workforce to have a voice and support one another.