Almost 90% of staff feel their role makes a difference

Date published: 25 March 2016

Almost nine out of 10 staff (89%) working in Health and Social Care (HSC) in Northern Ireland feel that their role makes a difference to patients.


The finding comes following a survey of all staff working in HSC organisations across Northern Ireland between 19 October and 11 December 2015. Around 70,000 staff were asked a range of questions about their working lives, personal development, flexible working/work-life balance, Communication and engagement and Health, Safety and well-being at work.

Welcoming the results of the survey, Health Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I am very heartened by the fact that the findings of this survey demonstrate that there have been real improvements over the last three years in many aspects of working in the HSC."

Key findings:

  • Survey results indicate generally positive morale among HSC staff. Over half (57%) of respondents say they look forward to going to work, an increase of 6% since the previous survey.
  • Seventy-one per cent of respondents feel enthusiastic about their job; 80% feel time passes quickly in work, and 79% feel their job is interesting. Sixty-one per cent said they would recommend their organisation as a place to work, an increase of 5% from the previous survey, and 79% agreed they were able to do their job to a standard with which they were personally pleased.
  • Seventy-three per cent of responding staff felt that care of patients, clients and service users is their organisation’s top priority, a large increase from 59% in 2012.
  • Eighty-six per cent of responding staff said that they were satisfied with the quality of care they deliver.
  • Sixty-seven per cent of responding staff reported working additional hours, and 63% said that this was because it was impossible to do their jobs otherwise. However, the overall proportion of respondents reporting having worked additional hours has decreased from 73% in 2012.
  • When asked about the contribution they made, 89% of respondents felt that their role made a difference to patients/clients/service users.
  • Fourteen per cent of respondents reported having experienced physical violence at work from patients or other service users, their families, or other members of the public within the past 12 months.
  • Eighty-eight per cent of respondents said that if they were concerned about negligence or wrongdoing by staff that they would know how to report their concerns, and 80% were confident that they would do so. Sixty-five per cent were confident that their organisation would appropriately handle any resulting investigation.

The Minister commented: “Levels of communication and engagement of staff have improved; there is evidence of better clarity around expectations; more staff than before are able to carry out their jobs to a standard which pleases them and levels of confidence to speak out have grown. It is a real endorsement of all the hard work and commitment of staff when I read of the increased levels of job satisfaction and that almost 90% of those responding felt that their contribution made a difference.

“However, I am also concerned by some of the findings: the levels of discrimination and violence reported are very disturbing, even one incident of violence or discrimination is clearly unacceptable, and I am disappointed to see that NI is still falling behind in terms of appraisal levels. I will want to see rapid progress made to tackling these issues and my Department will continue to work with staff, organisations and trade union representatives to address all of the areas of concern highlighted within the report.”

“I would like to thank in particular those staff who responded to the survey for providing this helpful insight and reiterate my appreciation for all staff across the HSC for their hard work and dedication.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the third survey of this kind, the first having been undertaken in 2009 and the second in 2012 and conducted by the Health and Social Care NI in conjunction with Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Trade Unions.
  2. The information will be used to continue to improve working practices and conditions and inform policy development.
  3. A total of 15 organisations across the Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland were given the opportunity to participate in the full census survey with sample sizes ranging from 19 to 22,567. The overall number of staff surveyed in HSCNI was 70,213. 17,798 completed questionnaires were returned using either an online or a paper questionnaire depending on organisation and/or staff group. This resulted in a 26% response rate.
  4. The organisations surveyed are as follows:
    • Belfast HSC Trust (BHSCT)
    • Northern HSC Trust (NHSCT)
    • Western HSC Trust (WHSCT)
    • Southern HSC Trust (SHSCT)
    • South Eastern HSC Trust (SEHSCT)
    • Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HSC Trust (NIAS)
    • Business Services Organisation (BSO)
    • HSC Board (HSCB)
    • Patient and Client Council (PCC)
    • Public Health Agency (PHA)
    • Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS)
    • Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC)
    • Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA)
    • Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Authority (NIMDTA)
    • Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)
  5. The complete survey and report can be found online.
  6. For further information, please contact the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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