WORKFORCE: Plymouth Community Health scored below average on four key indicators of staff engagement in the 2011 NHS staff survey.

The social enterprise, which was one of eight to take part in the annual survey of staff working in the NHS, achieved a score of 3.61 for overall engagement against an average for social enterprises of 3.67. The average for NHS community trusts was 3.67 and for acute trusts was 3.62.

Plymouth Community Health took on the running of NHS Plymouth’s provider arm in October, despite opposition from unions.

In total 64 per cent of staff felt they could contribute to improvements compared to 69 per cent at other social enterprises. Only 29 per cent of respondents felt there was good communication between staff and senior management against an average for social enterprises of 33 per cent.

More positively, only 56 per cent of staff reported having to work extra hours against an average of 65 per cent while 92 per cent of staff had received health and safety training in the last year against an average of 76 per cent.

Deputy director of workforce developement Colette Davies said: “Our staff have experienced a period of change with the move from the NHS to the Social Enterprise last October. To support staff through this change we have had a full programme of engagement and it is good to see that they continue to feel valued and supported by managers and colleagues. The results of the survey show some very good results where staff have expressed that we actively support a good work life balance and they are happy with the care they provide.

“Clearly we do have challenges ahead of us to make further improvements in ensuring our staff are best equipped and supported to carry out their jobs. We have a number of initiatives in place to improve the way we communicate right across the trust and we are beginning to see recognition of this in our results but more needs to be done particularly whilst we are going through change.”