Survey reveals staff saw potentially harmful mistakes made at Northampton General Hospital

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FOUR in 10 Northampton General Hospital staff saw potentially harmful mistakes in the space of a month, new figures suggest.

Although slightly better than last year, the figure was still high in a survey of opinions by Northamptonshire NHS staff about their workplaces.

Of 113 questions – on areas from bullying to recommending the trust to someone else – responses by NHS staff in Northamptonshire were graded worse than the national average in 83 of them.

Forty per cent of respondents at NGH said they had witnessed a potentially harmful error, near miss or other incident in the previous month which was August 2011.

At Northamptonshire Healthcare, which runs mental health services, that figure was 27 per cent of respondents, which the trust admitted was “not good enough”.

Moya McVicar, of the health watchdog Northamptonshire LINk, said: “On the one hand, it’s unsurprising because staff have it drummed into them that every last thing needs to be recorded.

“From that angle it’s good that people are reporting things so lessons can be learned. But I do think patients will be worried when they see these figures.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Northamptonshire, which looks after public health, described its survey results as “disappointing” but blamed upheaval caused by the ongoing merger with NHS Milton Keynes and preparations for the abolition of the trust in 2013.

Nobody at NGH was available to comment on its survey results yesterday.

However, hospital staff reacted positively to some questions. More than the average had equality and diversity training and staff motivation was on par with other hospitals in England and Wales.

Some answers by mental health staff also reflected well on the trust. Fewer than average were attacked at work by colleagues or patients and staff felt there were equal opportunities for promotions.

But, like the previous year, bullying, harassment and abuse was an issue for NHS staff in the three Northamptonshire trusts that serve the south of the county. The problem was highest among those who responded at Northampton General Hospital, where one in five had been a victim.

The issue was mentioned by 14 per cent of respondents at NHS Northamptonshire and 13 per cent of those at Northamptonshire Healthcare.

Bronwen Curtis, human relations director at the mental health trust, said: “We know it’s a problem and we will be having meetings with staff and staff representatives to understand the nature of the issues.”