Each autumn everyone who works in the NHS in England is invited to take part in the NHS Staff Survey (see detailed questions). The survey offers a snapshot in time of how people experience their working lives, gathered at the same time each year. Its strength is in capturing a national picture alongside local detail, enabling a range of organisations to understand what it is like for staff across different parts of the NHS and work to make improvements.
East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust had 11,263 staff in 2021/22, broken down as 9,637 as employees of the Trust and 1,626 who work for the subsidiaries. It covers/manages five sites, they are:
QEQM – Margate
William Harvey Hospital – Ashford
K&C – Canterbury
Buckland – Dover
Royal Victoria Hospital – Folkestone
The NHS Staff survey can be filled in by any members of staff and we have looked at the data for our Trust and what can be seen from the published data, is a persistent issue regarding physical violence by managers on staff, and staff on staff. Below we have set out the staff survey responses
Question 13 b in the survey asks:
In the last 12 months how many times have you personally experienced physical violence at work from managers?
As one can see over the last five years there has not been a year without incident. One percent is equivalent to 96 members of staff being assaulted at our Hospital Trust. The result show 9 members of staff have been assaulted more than ten times, 9 have been assaulted between 6 & 10 times, 9 have been assaulted 3 to 5 times and the rest have been assaulted1 to 2 times.
A perusal of the Trust’s agenda and minutes show that assaults by managers on staff have not been raised at Board level.
Nobody at our Trust should go to work and have to experience any form of physical violence, but unfortunately as the NHS Staff Survey data for our Trust makes clear it happens.
The next question asked in the survey is 13c
In the last 12 months how many times have you personally experienced physical violence at work from other colleagues?
So 1.8% of East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust staff have suffered physical violence from other staff in 2022, according to the NHS Staff Survey data. That is equivalent to 174 members of staff, which is 174 to many.
34 members of staff have suffered physical violence by other staff more than ten times. 17 members of staff have suffered physical violence six to ten times. 34 members of staff have suffered physical violence perpetrated upon them by other staff in 2022 three to five times and 89 members of staff have suffered physical violence on them by other staff one to two times.
It’s appalling that any member of staff at our Trust experiences physical violence whether it be by a manager, or another member of staff. We do wonder when, or if, the Board of the Trust will act to prevent these acts of unwanted physical violence by managers or staff.
The next question 13d asks:
The last time you experienced physical violence at work, did you or a colleague report it?
The staff survey shows that 26.6% did not report the physical violence and 6.6% didn’t know recall if it had been reported, making a total of 33.2%. So one in three staff did not report it and/or could not recall if it had been reported.
Given the evidence in the NHS Staff Survey for 2022, it is inexplicable that our Trust has not opened an thorough investigation into physical violence perpetrated by managers or staff. It is time to do so regardless of reputational damage. The Trust have a legal duty to keep all staff safe.
Every staff member of East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust has the right to go to work free from physical violence. We hope the Board will stamp it out.
If you have any information, or have experienced physical violence by a manager, or by another member of staff, please contact us at – firstname.lastname@example.org. Always 100% discreet. And we never reveal our sources.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime