Lesley Petre - Tobacco Specialist.jpeg

​Staff feel supported and able to work flexibly at local NHS Trust

South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) has again delivered some of the best results in the country in the NHS Staff Survey, which was published today (Thursday 09 March 2023).

Despite operational challenges and at times extreme service pressures, staff at the Trust remain engaged, feel listened to and supported to learn and work flexibly. This builds on the aims set out in the Trust’s Strategy to be a very flexible employer by placing huge emphasis on staff health and wellbeing and offering opportunities to flex roles and hours to suit individual circumstances.

The national NHS Staff Survey, commissioned by the Department of Health, invites all staff to answer questions anonymously about the Trust as an employer and healthcare provider. The national results from the survey undertaken in October 2022 demonstrate how difficult it has been for workforces across the NHS.

Last year the Trust officially changed its name to South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust – representing the formal collaboration with the University of Warwick and re-enforcing the focus on research and teaching. In addition, the Trust has launched a virtual monthly forum called ‘Open to Change’. This gives staff the space and time to discuss and showcase improvement ideas and initiatives and communicate learnings across the organisation. These changes are reflected in the Trust seeing a significant increase in the ‘We are always learning’ theme.

The Trust, which is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, has some of the best results in the country. SWFT ranked above average within all the key themes, when compared to other general acute and community NHS health providers in England:

  • We are compassionate and inclusive, SWFT scored 7.6 against an average of 7.2
  • We are recognised and rewarded, SWFT scored 6.1 against an average of 5.7
  • We have a voice that counts, SWFT scored 7.0 against an average of 6.6
  • We are safe and healthy, SWFT scored 6.1 against an average of 5.9
  • We are always learning, SWFT scored 5.8 against an average of 5.4
  • We work flexibly, SWFT scored 6.4 against an average of 6.0
  • We are a team, SWFT scored 6.9 against an average of 6.6
  • Staff Engagement, SWFT scored 7.2 against an average of 6.8
  • Morale, SWFT scored 6.0 against an average of 5.7

SWFT is part of a ‘Foundation Group’ with Wye Valley NHS Trust and George Eliot Hospitals NHS Trust. All three organisations work together to overcome common challenges and share best practice.

Glen Burley, Chief Executive of South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The NHS Staff Survey is significant in understanding how our workforce is feeling and in enabling us, as an organisation, to know what we are getting right and where and how we can improve. Therefore, I am a huge advocate of this survey and look forward to seeing the results every year.

“As our most precious asset, staff are at the heart of everything we do. I am delighted that once again staff have ranked our organisation as one of the top places to work in the NHS. With demand continuing to rise, health and social care services are facing significant challenges right now. The Foundation Group model, with a strong culture of driving continuous improvements and championing innovation, strengthens our ability to bring teams together to implement solutions to further improve care and increase productivity. Therefore, it is also pleasing to see a significant increase in the learning theme in this important measure.

“We continually want to develop and enhance what we offer. Making the best use of our resources and identifying new ways of working, while focusing on the retention, happiness and wellbeing of staff will be key priorities of the Trust over the next year.”

Lesley Petre, Tobacco Specialist at South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is great to work for a Trust which is committed to developing staff, who places a big emphasis on enabling flexible working and who embraces new initiatives to improve patient care.

“I have worked at South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust for four years, starting as a band 2 health care assistant and progressed to a newly qualified Nurse. Through development opportunities and support within the Trust, I have very recently moved into my Tobacco Specialist role within the Tobacco Dependency Team. This new service, which is in its early implementation phase, aims to improve our local population’s health by providing patients, who smoke and admitted to hospital for any condition, with the necessary support to quit smoking. As the lead Nurse, I am responsible for implementing this new initiative trust-wide. Through the organisation’s dedication to flexible working, I am able to work a combination of office, ward and home working. This mixture supports me to balance my work and home life and helps me to manage professional and personal commitments.”

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