Hooper Confident Manx Care Can Improve Relations

After the release of a staff survey at Noble’s Hospital, the DHSC Minister has told Gef he believes the working Manx Care is putting into improving relations with and between staff will work.

The survey was sent to around 300 colleagues (the medical staffing workforce) out of the 2,910 people who work for Manx Care in what it calls ‘substantive roles’.

Last week’s Examiner detailed that 62% of staff told the BMA that Noble’s Hospital is not a good place to work. Others said there is a ‘blame culture’, that ‘discrimination on race, gender and part-time working is commonplace’ while one worker just said: ‘Abolish Manx Care. It has been a huge, resource hungry, unproductive organisation that is out of touch with the public, staff and patients.’

In response to the survey results being published, Manx Care said it was ‘disappointed’ that the results had been leaked but highlighted that only a small number of doctors had taken part.

Speaking to Gef, Lawrie Hooper has said while he was aware of the survey, he only became aware of its results after seeing the front page of the Examiner.

However, while he was initially concerned with the headline, he became less so having read the piece itself.

He explained: ‘The headline was definitely concerning but when you start digging behind the scenes a little bit, it’s definitely a more complex picture than the one being presented.’

Even One is Too Many

Mr Hooper did acknowledge that even if one person in the organisations feels discriminated against due to their race or gender it is a concern, the DHSC doesn’t get involved as it is, in essence, an ’employee, employer relationship between Manx Care and its staff’.

The Lib Vannin leader added: ‘There are also lots of independent processes that exist. If there are people out there that need employment support, public/private sector then Manx Industrial Relations Service is a great resource for support. I know a lot of the staff inside the healthcare service are unionised, so speak to your union, but also in the first instance, talk to your line manager, talk to the management of Manx Care.

‘I know they are open and willing to listen and if there are problems like this then they need to be dealt with quickly and they shouldn’t be allowed to fester and really it is about encouraging that open communication process to say if you have a problem, please talk to someone within the system about, talk to the support systems that exist because we need to help.’

However, he said that many of the issues raised are ‘long standing’ ones that existed before Manx Care and that the organisation has is working on recommendations from the Sir Johnathan Michael review to improve relations.

He added: ‘Manx Care already has a big work stream around workforce and culture to try and deal with the recommendations that say we need to make things better, so there is a lot of work already going on. I think one thing that has been quite helpful with this particular article and the survey being published is that its showing us that there is a lot more work to do and its given an added impetus to Manx Care to say “how do we improve engagement with staff?”.

‘They’re talking now about doing their own pulse survey, so rerunning the BMA survey next year and making sure there is an independent push as well. So I think that it’s given them the message that we need to focus more on this. It was already one of their top three priorities, so really I think in some ways its been a helpful piece. The results themselves don’t read particularly positive, but we should turn this into something positive.’

When We Would Get Involved

Asked when it would become an issue for DHSC, Mr Hooper said if proper reporting procedures are followed and the management structure fails to deal with them properly, resulting in employment tribunals then his department would look at why the processes aren’t working and whether changes are needed to protect staff.

Ultimately he said if people find the processes aren’t working they can ‘pick up the phone’ and ring the department about their concerns.