A report produced by Northampton General Hospital suggests that the NHS is enduring its worst winter in three decades.
The consequence of the worst winter for thirty years has been a spate of underfunding and poor staff morale, according to the Northampton-based institution.
“Maintaining Quality Over Winter” has recently been published by the hospital, with the intention of assessing and outlining the problems that the NHS faces in the winter period.
Commenting on the report, Deborah Needham, chief operating officer at Northampton General Hospital, suggested that there are more than logistical issues for the NHS to contend with.
“There are a number of reasons for low morale in the workplace and it is difficult to show causation. Regardless of the reason, it can affect productivity, increase errors, increase sickness absence and affect joint working between teams and departments.”
Northampton General Hospital has already implemented numerous measures in order to address the issues caused by high winter capacity.
In particular, the hospital has invested in leadership training in an attempt to address winter capacity issues.
And the institution also believes that valuing and welcoming ideas from everyone, whatever their rank, is another measure to ensure job satisfaction.
Needham also suggested that addressing pressure on staff within the NHS involves addressing smaller, everyday ideas as well as more panoramic issues.
In order to address this aspect of NHS operations, Northampton General Hospital has attempted to engender a positive mentality among staff, which has led to what the institution believes to be an above-average morale.
“We aim to reward our staff through the little things that matter, such as informally saying ‘thank you’ when staff go above and beyond the call of duty to provide a great service to patients and keep them safe,” Needham explained.
As NHS organisations face pressure from logistical issues and funding, the high level of winter capacity is a major challenge across the health service.
It was known weeks before winter came that capacity in the NHS was already running at crisis levels.
Thus, it is not surprising that many hospitals and trusts are now facing difficulties.
Yet the NHS cannot afford to drop the ball at what is an absolutely critical time for the health service.
“During what is likely to be a difficult winter for most hospitals, we need to ensure that we continue to provide the quality of care our patients expect,” Needham stated.