A poll of HR directors of NHS trusts shows them to be generally positive about the future of their workforce, as 64% said they expect staff morale to improve in the year ahead.
The poll, conducted by NHS Employers, was published yesterday (4 November 2008), and asked NHS HR directors their thoughts on issues ranging from staff morale, workforce planning and the outlook for HR as a profession.
Of 139 responses, 37% said service improvement and redesign was their greatest workforce priority, reflecting the direction set out in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review and the associated workforce changes.
Staff engagement (20%) came next on the list, while recruitment and retention followed at 13%, with 18% saying workforce planning was a challenge.
45% of HR directors said that staff morale had improved in their organisation over the past 12 months.
Despite the current economic climate, 59% of HR directors expect workforce numbers to increase over the next 12 months.
Alastair Henderson, joint acting director of NHS Employers, said: "The results of the poll are broadly positive. We feel the mood in the service is upbeat, although the responses acknowledged the challenges we do face in the coming months.
"Statistics on staff morale are also encouraging, and with staff engagement recognised as a top priority both nationally and at a local level we would hope to see continued improvements in the year ahead.”