The regulatory burden and external interference are the biggest factors bringing down the job satisfaction of NHS trust leaders, an HSJ survey reveals.

HSJ, in association with Hunter Healthcare, surveyed executive board members at all NHS trusts – including chief executives, finance directors, HR directors, medical directors and chief information officers – on the factors affecting job satisfaction.

There were 113 responses from board members.

The most common answer was the high regulatory burden, which 20 per cent of those that answered said had an impact on job satisfaction (see graph, below). The next most common factor was external pressures such as political interference preventing them doing their jobs.

Not feeling supported by senior colleagues, the wider NHS and the public was a factor for 19 per cent of respondents.

However, overall job satisfaction was good with an average rating of seven out of 10.  

The three things that increased executives’ job satisfaction were: feeling you are making a difference to patients; finding the work challenging and rewarding; and finding the work interesting (see graph).

From the survey, HSJ looked to create a profile of the qualities needed to be an NHS trust board member. For board members who answered, the ability to have difficult conversations was the most important quality for a director.

For the 49 chief executives that answered the most important quality for thier role was seen as the ability to spend time networking and influencing colleagues to drive change.