This survey included the responses of 195 orthoptists - many thanks for those of you who took the trouble to take part and the two who did telephone interviews. In total, nearly 35,000 people took part!
The research will be submitted later in the year as part of the staff-side evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB).
This year’s research is based on two main research strands – an on-line survey
and telephone interviews with members representing 14 NHS unions (including BOS TU). The survey achieved 34,691 usable responses and telephone interviews were carried out with 30 individuals, representing a range of professions across the NHS.
The research suggests that a majority of staff working in the NHS are regularly
working in excess of their contracted hours. In addition, over half of individuals in
senior management positions (56 per cent) and some two fifths of pharmacists
(41 per cent) and midwives (39 per cent) report that they ‘always’ work in excess
of their contracted hours.
In addition, 37 per cent of respondents said that the extra hours they work are all
unpaid, and 34 per cent of respondents receive time-off-in-lieu. We do not know
from the survey whether NHS staff are able to take back the extra time worked,
although anecdotal evidence from the telephone interviews suggests that job-
holders find it difficult to take TOIL1.
Over 80 per cent of NHS staff have experienced an increase in their workload in
the last 12 months, and this trend has remained fairly constant since 2007. This
year’s survey shows that job-holders in bands 6 and 7 are most likely to report an
increase in workload compared with the previous 12 months. Results show that
the main factors contributing to increased workload are ‘additional duties and
responsibilities’ and ‘insufficient sickness, maternity or holiday cover’.
Worryingly, over 70 per cent of NHS staff said that increases to their workload
have resulted in a negative effect on morale. In addition, just under half (49 per
cent) pointed to increased stress levels and the detrimental impact this has had
on their relationships both within and outside of work. Respondents from the
telephone interviews referred to ‘more pressure and stress’ and described how
‘everything has become much more bureaucratic’.
By AfC pay band, job-holders in AfC bands 5 (79 per cent) and 6 (78 per cent) are
most likely to report that an increased workload has had a negative impact on
their morale. In addition, almost half of band 5 job-holders and 45 per cent of
those in band 6 say there has been a negative impact on the quality of care
provided to patients. A further 46 per cent of job-holders in each of the two
bands said that an increase in the levels of stress they are being subjected to is
having a detrimental effect on their health.
In addition, two-fifths of respondents said they were dissatisfied with being
unable to carry out their job to a high standard. One respondent from the
telephone interviews described how ‘patients have less qualified staff attending’
and how ‘patients are affected because staff are demoralised due to regrading
In relation to pay, over three-quarters of respondents view the NHS pay policy for
2011/13 as unfair, and almost 90 per cent think that the proposed NHS pay policy
for 2013/15 is unfair. Moreover, 23 of the 30 respondents contacted for the
telephone interviews expressed anger with the current pay freeze. The remaining
seven respondents, however, said they were resigned to the situation.
There has also been a marked increase since 2010 in the proportion of NHS staff
reporting that they are worse off compared with the previous 12 months. This
year, 84 per cent of respondents said they are worse off, compared to 56 per cent
of respondents in 2010. Findings from the telephone interviews painted a
worrying picture of staff who, by the end of the month, are unable to find money
to pay for their water and electricity.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that over half of respondents are dependent on
additional payments to boost their basic income. The most common forms of
additional income reported in this year’s survey were unsocial hours
payments/special duty/shift premia and overtime pay. When interpreting these
results, however, it should also be recalled that two-thirds of respondents said
that the extra hours they worked went unpaid, or were taken as time-off-in-lieu.
Some two-thirds of NHS staff reported that their workplace has experienced staff
shortages in the last year and against this backdrop, 60 per cent said they have
seriously thought about leaving their current position in the NHS. Worryingly,
around two-fifths of respondents voiced their intention to move out of the NHS
completely, although the fact remains that staff continue to remain loyal to the
ethos of the NHS. This is supported by evidence from the telephone interviews
and respondents who talked about ‘the love of the job and helping people’ and
working for the NHS as a vocation.
Notwithstanding, respondents pointed to stress/workload, constant restructuring, and feeling undervalued due to levels of pay and unfair grading as reasons for wanting to leave the NHS. One interview respondent talked about getting ‘professional satisfaction’ from the job but ‘do not want to be paid a pittance’.
Over half of respondents to the on-line survey said their workplace has gone
through a restructuring exercise over the last 12 months. This is further
supported by evidence from the telephone interviews which concluded that
restructuring continues apace in the NHS, and it is imminent where it has not yet
occurred. In 2007 our research described the annoyance of NHS staff about what
they regarded as often unnecessary organisational change. By 2010 NHS staff
regarded constant restructuring as inevitable. In 2012, interview respondents are
stunned by the extent of the changes that restructuring, including staff
shortages, exert on their working lives.
Read the full 229 pages! IDS Survey Sept 2012.pdf