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Staff at community trusts more likely to work additional unpaid hours

Nearly two-thirds of community trust staff work additional unpaid hours each week, according to the 2018 NHS Staff Survey.

When compared to staff at other types of trust, this is the highest among the NHS trust types.

It is also higher than the national average, with 58% of staff across all trusts reporting that they work additional unpaid hours each week.

But community staff did score well on other measures assessed by the survey. Collated responses relating to questions on bullying in the workplace saw staff at community trusts score 8.3 out of 10 – the highest of any trust, with higher scores equating to more positive responses.

Three quarters of community staff feel satisfied with their jobs and four out of five (81%) with the quality of care they give to patients, matching the national average.

Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement and leading on the NHS Workforce Implementation Plan, which is due in April, said: ‘These results underline the need to change and improve the culture of the NHS to make sure every member of staff is supported to develop and thrive.

‘A key part of the workforce implementation plan is looking at how we can make the NHS the best place to work for current and future staff and to improve our leadership capabilities at team, organisation and system levels.’

Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair feels addressing the workforce issues is the only solution to many of the issues raised by the survey results.

She said: ‘Half of all staff have raised low staffing levels as an issue, more are saying they are working unpaid overtime to keep the service running and increasing numbers report seeing errors that could harm patients. These are all indicative of a health service with a cavernous gap between the number of staff it has, and what it actually needs to meet demand.

‘With tens of thousands of nursing posts empty, what’s needed is targeted investment of at least £1bn in nursing higher education to increase supply as well as legislation that guarantees the right number of nurses and nursing support staff with the right skills to provide safe and effective care.’

Table: Percentage of staff working additional unpaid hours each week

Trust type 0-1 unpaid hours Up to five unpaid hours 6-10 unpaid hours 4-11 unpaid hours Any number of unpaid hours
Community 36.6% 48.7% 11% 3.7% 63.4%
Mental health/learning disability 37.3% 46.3% 12.2% 4.2% 62.7%
Acute specialist 38.2% 46.3% 10.9% 4.7% 61.8%
Combined mental health/learning disability 39.1% 46.2% 11.1% 3.7% 60.9%
Combined acute and community 42.5% 44.3% 9.4% 3.8% 57.5%
Acute 43% 44.1% 9.1% 3.8% 57%
Ambulance 58.5% 31.7% 6.2% 3.6% 41.5%
National average 42.2% 44.3% 9.6% 3.8% 57.8%