The commitment to ensure National Health Service staff are treated with dignity and respect, is enshrined in the NHS Constitution, which sets out the principles and values underpinning the NHS and rights, pledges and responsibilities for patients, the public and staff. All bodies supplying NHS services are legally required to take account of the NHS Constitution in their decisions and actions.
Specifically, the NHS Constitution includes a right for staff to be treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination, and pledges to:
- provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities;- provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate education and training for their jobs and line management support to enable them to fulfil their potential;- provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, wellbeing and safety; and- engage staff in decisions that affect them and the services they provide, individually, through representative organisations and through local partnership working arrangements.
Progress against these pledges is measured via the NHS Staff Survey. The most recent NHS Staff Survey (2013) showed progress in most areas including:
- Levels of staff engagement and involvement up to 3.74/5 from 3.68;- Eight out of ten staff believe their role makes a difference for patients;- 54% satisfied with the recognition they get for their work, up from 49%;- 67% of staff feeling supported by line managers, up from 66%; and- Most staff felt supported to gain training to deliver better care and reported fair treatment by their employer.
The Department commissions NHS Employers to support and promote good employment practice in areas such as Health and Well Being, ensuring equal treatment at work and fostering staff engagement. For example, NHS Employers and NHS England are currently supporting Compassion into Practice week to promote dignity and respect for nurses, midwives and their patients.