Health service workers are the gloomiest in the public sector, new research has found.
According to data from The Workers Index – a bi-annual survey of 1,000 workers’ attitudes towards work in the public and private sectors, jointly sponsored by research organisation MORI and The Work Foundation think-tank – health sector staff have less faith in their leaders than colleagues in other parts of the public sector.
Fewer than half of health service workers (48%) believe that ‘senior management have a clear vision of where the organisation is going’. By contrast, 67% of people who work in the education sector agree with the statement.
In addition, twice the proportion of health workers (24%) compared with education sector workers (12%) disagree that the NHS puts the needs of clients first.
More than one in five health staff (22%) are actively critical of their employer, and 18% are critical of the service it provides. The level of criticism is considerably lower in the education sector. One in seven (15%) are critical of their employer, and just 9% criticise the service it offers.
Criticism of management is not confined to senior ranks. Health service staff are also less inspired by their own line managers. In education, 63% say they are inspired by their line manager. In the NHS or health services, the figure is 48%.
Alexandra Jones, senior researcher at The Work Foundation, said: “These figures suggest the perpetual upheaval in the health service may be eating into the motivation and commitment of staff.
“They already do highly demanding jobs. But on top, they have to cope with this blizzard of initiatives and targets that descends on them from on high. Small wonder that work attitudes in the health service seem to be feeling the strain.”