The NHS staff pledges provide the framework within which organisations in the NHS should develop their approach to improving staff experience. Research has shown that improved staff experience is closely linked to improved patient care. The pledges cover all the main areas of the treatment of staff at work. NHS trusts have taken a range of action to implement the pledges.
The pledges are made by all employers that provide NHS services, and are made to all staff that deliver NHS care, both professional and non-professional. The pledges are not legally binding but represent a commitment by the NHS to provide high-quality working environments for staff.
The pledges cover all the main areas of the treatment of staff at work. NHS trusts have taken a range of action to implement the pledges.
The NHS has pledged to:
- provide a positive working environment for staff and to promote supportive, open cultures that help staff do their job to the best of their ability
- provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs for teams and individuals that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities
- provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate education and training for their jobs, and line management support to enable them to fulfil their potential
- provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, wellbeing and safety
- engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide, individually, through representative organisations and through local partnership working arrangements. All staff will be empowered to put forward ways to deliver better and safer services for patients and their families
- encourage and support all staff in raising concerns at the earliest reasonable opportunity about safety, malpractice or wrongdoing at work, responding to and, where necessary, investigating the concerns raised and acting consistently with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
Many trusts provide information on the staff pledges in induction packs or on their website. The South Essex Partnership Trust provides information on the pledges to all recruits. Most trusts also have mechanism for tracking progress. For example, the Somerset Partnership Trust assesses progress against the pledges in its Board reports.
In order to help develop a positive working environment, most trusts now have some form of local values statement. Trusts such as Derbyshire Healthcare, Salford Royal and Guys and St Thomas, have sought to develop their values as a key part of changing organisational culture. A number of trusts have developed programmes to tackle bullying and harassment to ensure the workplace is a positive one.
The Staff Survey is structured around the pledges, with many key findings linked to them. In 2013, 21 out of the 28 key indicators showed some improvement. This showed progress on a number of the key pledges, especially staff involvement and training and development with mixed progress on health and wellbeing.