Le Patron Mange Ici - ou peut-

The boss eats here. It's a familiar advertising gambit in provincial French restaurants.  It communicates a reassuring message about quality and confidence in the product. We now learn from the just published Healthcare Commission annual staff survey, that when it comes to our local hospitals the patron and the staff try to avoid "mangeing ici".


The survey shows that very nearly half (48%) of the staff surveyed in the west Hertfordshire NHS Trust would not be happy being patients in their own hospital.  Only 21% would be happy.  It was the worst result among all the acute hospital trusts in England. Why is it that West Hertfordshire NHS Trust always seems to top the league table for the wrong reasons - most in debt and so on? Even the West Hertfordshire NHS Trust's best scores were only average and some of its worst ones were truly dreadful. The full report can be accessed on the Healthcare Commission website here but lowlights were:

  • quality of work-life balance in bottom 20 percent
  • training and development in bottom 20 percent
  • feeling that immediate management is not supportive in bottom 20 percent

The scores for St Albans City Hospital plumbed real depths compared with the other hospital sites in West Hertfordshire. Only 7 percent of those surveyed in St Albans had had a proper staff appraisal in the previous 12 months, less than half had had relevant job training in the same period.  Any manager in a large organisation knows that these are basic building blocks for a well run entity.  How can they get out of the mire without delivering these simple and crucial hallmarks of a good employer? The West Hertfordshire management now has to grip these obvious failings.  It is the least that the frontline staff deserve if they are to deliver the world-class patient care that we should expect - and which should by now be the result of all the taxpayer money that Gordon Brown has tipped into the NHS.

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