The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Clinical commissioning groups demonstrate the highs and the lows of the staff survey. The high was South Tyneside CCG, where 19 out of 20 staff would recommend it as a place to work – the highest level of any NHS organisation in the 2020 staff survey and a remarkable achievement by any measure.

The low was undoubtedly Kent and Medway CCG, where only 42.9 per cent would give the same recommendation. It was beaten to bottom place by East of England Ambulance Services Trust on 40.4 per cent.

Not all CCGs take part in the staff survey – less than half did this year – and some of those that did have been through the turmoil of reorganisation in the last 18 months. That can make comparisons with previous years more difficult and lessons harder to draw.

However, there is no doubt that Kent and Medway CCG is facing a trying time: it was not only the headline measure where it was bottom of the pack. Staff morale appears very low, with 43.9 per cent saying they often thought about leaving the organisation and 27.4 per cent saying they would leave as soon as they found a new job.

The CCG was formed out of eight predecessors in April 2020 and has been through a major reorganisation and redundancy process, with some senior staff leaving – but more than 70 staff members being promoted. But attempts to boost morale – such as offering staff a “Graze-type snackbox” or a thank you card from senior management to recognise their work during the pandemic – seem to have got nowhere.

‘Discrimination’ blow

Another year, another NHS staff survey, another widening of the gap in the experiences between white and minority ethnic staff.

The 2020 results have found workers from minority ethnic backgrounds had reported a significant increase in discrimination, while fewer believed their organisation acts fairly with regards to career progression and promotion.

HSJ has analysed the data and found the acute trusts with the highest, and lowest, proportions of discrimination reported by minority ethnic staff, as well as how that differs from 2019.

We have only included the acutes this year because the sample sizes among other trust types were too small.