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Only half of ICBs extend NHS staff survey to GP practices

Only half of ICBs extend NHS staff survey to GP practices

Only around half of integrated care systems in England have signed up to roll out the NHS Staff Survey to GP practices and primary care networks (PCNs) this autumn.

NHS England (NHSE) has this year extended the annual workforce survey to those working across general practice to help produce ‘actionable’ data and inform recruitment and retention.

But in an update this month, NHS England said 23 out of 42 systems had agreed to roll out the survey to practices and PCNs in its first year.

And it told Pulse’s sister title Nursing in Practice that those who had opted out of the rollout this time around had cited a ‘variety of internal and external reasons’.

It added that ‘common deterrents’ included capacity issues, a ‘short lead time to engage with practices’ and a ‘desire to learn from and follow progress in the survey’s first year amongst participating systems’.

The move to extend the survey to practices was announced in the summer and came after the success of five pilots that sought to test the methodology.

The decision to extend its use was also taken in response to the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan that commits to encouraging all NHS organisations to have staff feedback processes in place to ensure their opinion can be listened to and acted upon.

Data collected from the survey is expected to be used to support and inform recruitment and retention at a local and national level. Separate results will be available for general practice staff and will be reported at national, ICB and local levels.

In its Primary Care Bulletin last week, NHS said the survey was due to go live from 2 October and was an ‘opportunity for general practices to provide valuable feedback’.

It added: ‘Access to the survey is being coordinated by participating ICBs, with 23 systems signing up to roll out the survey to their practices.’

Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Dr Crystal Oldman said: ‘It is really good news to hear that general practice is to be included in the NHS Staff survey in these 23 ICSs.

‘This will give general practice nurses (GPN) an opportunity to have their anonymised and collective voice heard on what is positive about working in general practice and also what needs to change for recruitment and retention purposes and more.’

Though she noted the ‘challenge’ would be around ‘what power ICSs will have to respond to the results’.

‘It would be helpful to understand the process of ICS responses, as if the results are truly anonymous, the individual GP practice will be unidentifiable,’ Dr Oldman told Nursing in Practice.

‘However, themes may emerge which will help with understanding the GPN experience overall.’

Dr Oldman said she anticipated that salary, terms and conditions, and access to education and continuing professional development would be among the key themes that arise.

A version of this story was first published by Pulse’s sister title Nursing in Practice