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Improved employee engagement in the NHS could save lives, says report

The business case for employee engagement has been made many times and is now widely accepted. But in the caring services, the business case is arguably not the primary concern. It's quality of care that matters the most. So, does engagement affect quality of care?

Engagement, care and patient outcomes

A recent study from the charity The Point of Care Foundation claims that improvements in employee engagement within the NHS could have a direct impact on care quality and patient outcomes.

It said that patient satisfaction was consistently higher in trusts with better rates of staff health and wellbeing.

The report also revealed a link between higher staff satisfaction and lower rates of mortality and hospital-acquired infection.

Engagement levels in the NHS

The charity's research found that employee engagement has been falling since 2009, save for a modest blip in 2012.

While nearly all NHS trusts (97 per cent) said they had the infrastructure and systems in place to engage effectively with their staff, only 40 per cent of staff were satisfied with how their work was valued, and just 35 per cent say communication between staff and senior managers was effective.

Three-quarters said they were able to make suggestions for improvements, but only a quarter said senior managers acted upon their suggestions.

The business case

Of course, there's a business case too. High staff engagement, the report pointed out, is associated with lower levels of absenteeism - it said around a third of sickness absence in the NHS is down to stress.

The NHS could release 3.4 million working days annually, the authors said, and save £555 million if it managed to cut sickness absence by a third.

Acas services

There is Acas support for NHS organisations undergoing change. Acas can help your workforce find solutions to maintaining and increasing motivation, reducing stress and absenteeism, and a host of other employment relations issues.

Call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for free, confidential and impartial advice.

Acas training to help boost employee engagement is listed under Staff retention, and there are courses on offer that address Health, work and wellbeing and Stress.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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