FEWER staff at the Somerset Trust would feel happy if a friend or relative needed to be treated by the organisation, according to a survey carried out last year.

The annual poll of NHS staff across England has revealed a drop in satisfaction with care standards, while concern over workforce numbers, discontent with pay and work-related stress were also highlighted by health service workers nationally.

At Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, 78% of staff who responded to the 2021 survey said that if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation.

This was down from 84% the year before, according to the report, which included responses from 4,319 staff at the trust.

Hayley Peters, chief nurse at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, has told the County Gazette: “We welcome the results from the 2021 NHS Staff Survey, which is one of a number of important ways that we gather feedback and listen to the view of our colleagues across our NHS trust.

“The last two years have brought many challenges across the NHS, including responding to a global pandemic, supporting the rollout of the Somerset COVID-19 mass vaccination programme, significant and sustained pressures on our teams and services and more recently, the workforce challenges created by high levels of colleague sickness and absence due to COVID.

Of the survey respondents at the Somerset Trust, just 30% said there are enough staff at their organisation for them to do their job properly – a considerable drop from 44% in 2020.

Some 44% of staff had felt unwell as a result of work-related stress in the previous 12 months, while 29% often or always felt burnt out because of their job.

And roughly 71% said they feel enthusiastic about their job, compared to 75% a year earlier.

“We pride ourselves on providing outstanding care for our patients, which was noted in our most recent Care Quality Commission inspection in 2020," Peters said.

"We know there are occasions when this may be challenging, particularly where we have workforce shortages or have needed to postpone outpatient appointments or some planned operations. We are very sorry to those patients who have been affected by this.

“All our colleagues across acute, community and mental health services have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and we are very grateful for their ongoing resilience and professionalism.

"Our teams are quite literally the lifeblood of our services and we want to ensure that we continue to support them to do their jobs well, to develop in their roles and to remain healthy and well.”

The 2021 survey also reveals that just 33% of NHS workers across England are satisfied with their level of pay – it was 37% at the Somerset Trust.