Finding time and space to say thank you

Kevin McGee, Chief Exec of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kevin McGee

The results from the national staff survey run independently each year across the entire NHS nationally were published yesterday and, as always, provide valuable insight into how it really feels to work in healthcare in the UK.

This feedback from staff who have played such a huge part in our response to the pandemic over the past year is going to be instrumental in rebuilding and restoring our services in coming months so it worth understanding it more.

In the questionnaire, staff answer a range of questions anonymously based on 10 themes, such as equality and diversity, health and wellbeing, quality of care for patients and safety culture.

From a headline perspective I’m delighted to tell you that Blackpool Teaching Hospitals scored above the national average in five of the themes and were in line with the national average in three themes.

This is great news and demonstrates real progress – but we scored below the national average in the final two themes of staff health and wellbeing and providing a safe environment for staff and so there’s lots to learn and do in these areas.

Just the fact that more than 3,500 colleagues diligently found time to complete it during some of the most difficult days we have ever experienced speaks volumes in itself and I want to thank each and every person who took the time to provide their views, it really is appreciated.

It cannot be underestimated how difficult the past year has been and I have said many times before how everyone at the Trust and the wider healthcare system as a whole has worked unbelievably hard.

I am grateful especially to those who were and continue to be redeployed to areas and specialities that aren’t their usual place or focus of work. People have worked late, come in early and cancelled leave and other family commitments to care and support each other, as well as our patients and their families. I’ve seen colleagues carry on when they wanted to stop and collapse. They’ve gone way, way, beyond anything that could be considered an ‘extra mile’. They have put their own lives on hold without a grumble.

Then there are those who have worked from home which isn’t easy either and if you have home schooled as well then you have my admiration. Each and every person has played their part and I can genuinely never thank you enough.

And so it is against this backdrop that the 2020 staff survey was completed. That they took a moment to tell us how they felt, how things were and how they could improve is amazing. Then consider what they said:

  • 68% said they would recommend our organisation as a place to work (the national average is 67%)
  • 69% also said they would be happy with the standard of care for a friend or relative (compared to 63% in 2019)
  • 79% said the care of patients and service users was our organisation’s top priority (up from 74% in 2019)

When you also consider that Lancashire faced some of the highest levels of community infection from Covid in the UK, followed by extremely high numbers of people who needed hospital admission and extreme pressure in our hospitals and community settings throughout the pandemic – this really is incredible improvement.

We were hit hard by Covid and for a very long period of time indeed. The Trust lost colleagues to the virus too and the emotional burden of supporting hundreds of people who died in our hospitals was incredibly high.

The anniversary of our first Covid positive patient and the first Covid-related death both occur within days of each other next week and as Trust we will be remembering and reflecting on our response together as much as we can.

We’ll be finding time and space to say thank you, taking a moment to reflect on what has happened and how we have dealt with it and remembering all those who have lost their lives – both staff and patients, friends and loved ones in our communities.

The response to Covid has taken its toll on colleagues and we’ll be reiterating the health and well being support on offer on a individual and team basis to make sure people know what they can access and what is available.

As we move forward towards what is hopefully the end of this phase of the pandemic, it is right that we take time to remember and reflect. The staff survey results are there to help guide us towards the future and improvements that really matter to all of us. I know we can and will do this together.

Take care,


Posted in .