Staff rate West Suffolk as best hospital in England to work and receive care

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has come top of the national tables for staff recommending it as a place to work or receive care, according to the results of the latest NHS staff survey, published today (6 March).

The Trust, based in Bury St Edmunds, scored the highest rating in the country (4.12) against other acute hospital trusts in England (average score 3.76) for staff being likely to recommend it to others.

Staff at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust celebrate their latest NHS staff survey results

Asked questions about the organisation, the care it provides, and the support they receive from managers, 93% of staff agreed that their role made a difference to patients (national average 90%), 87% said that patient care was the Trust’s top priority (national average 76%), and 71% said they felt they could contribute to improvements at work (national average 70%).

The Trust also scores in the top 20% of comparable acutes nationally for good communication between staff and senior managers, staff feeling valued by the organisation, and the Trust taking an active interest in the health and wellbeing of its people.

The National NHS Staff Survey is carried out annually across the NHS to measure staff experience and engagement in their workplace. Sent to 1,250 randomly selected staff at WSFT, the survey data was gathered from September and December last year.

The results show the Trust scored above the national average in 26 of the 32 staff experience indicators measured.

Director of workforce and communications Jan Bloomfield said: “We are delighted to have maintained our excellent staff survey results this year. We work hard to make sure that WSFT is a happy, healthy environment for our staff to work.

“We know that staff that feel engaged, happy and supported at work provide the best care, so we look very carefully at our staff survey as an indicator of the quality of care we give to our patients.”

The Trust also made a vast improvement on the number of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from colleagues, with just 20% reporting issues compared to 25% last year (national average 2017, 25%).

“We’re particularly pleased about this”, continued Jan. “No one should come to work and experience these behaviours from a colleague. We have put huge effort into making sure better support mechanisms are in place for staff, including introducing a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role, who staff can approach in confidence for support.

“We have an open and honest culture, and we want people to feel safe to raise concerns. Whilst we will always strive for a workplace where 0% of staff experience these issues, these results show that we are certainly going in the right direction and are outperforming many of our peers.”

The survey results come hot on the heels of the Trust receiving an Outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in January – one of just seven general acute trusts in the country to be awarded the accolade.

Chief executive Stephen Dunn said: “We take the views of our staff very seriously – they are truly our most important asset and it’s vital we know what they think and feel about working here.

“The fact that we got the highest score in England for staff recommending us as a place to work or receive care is incredible, and makes me genuinely proud. These results go hand in hand with the excellent clinical outcomes we deliver.

“Our staff make a difference to people’s lives every day, so it’s important that we try and make a difference to theirs and provide the best possible workplace for them to deliver and support patient care, whatever their role. These survey results show that, for the most part, we are on the right lines.

“But we’re not complacent. There is always more to do and we’ll be using these results to work with staff and understand where and how we can improve even further.”

The full NHS staff survey results are publically available at