Just 16% of the 11,000 doctors, nurses and HSE staff at hospitals in Portlaoise, Tullamore, Naas and Dublin gave their views to health management last year.
The results are contained in Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) Strategy 2018 - 2023 plan which also finds that the response rate was double the 8% response rate for 2014.
The Strategy proposes a downgrade of the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise. Senior doctors at the Laois hospital are among those who oppose the plan. Doctors have gone as far as joining with there GP colleagues to draw up an alternative plan to downgrade.
Nevertheless, the DMHG says staff are crucial.
"Our workforce is the organisation’s most valuable asset, and is vital to the delivery of the highest quality clinical services, education and research and will need to evolve to meet future needs of the DMHG and to support the successful implementation of the strategic aims.
"We need to value our staff and ensure they champion our values. The ‘Your Opinion Counts’ Health Sector National Staff Survey was conducted in 2016. The response rate from the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group staff was 16% (1,774 respondents), which is more than double the response rate of the 2014 Staff Survey.
"The survey conveyed improved levels of enthusiasm and contentment since 2014 and high levels of staff motivation. It identified focus areas for improvement which included dignity at work, communication, recognition, health and wellbeing, and perceptions of leadership."
The strategy says these are areas that the DMHG management will prioritise in order to achieve improved staff engagement across all levels of our hospitals. It says hospitals are now actively developing plans to address these areas and managment will support this by the full implementation of the Group strategy.
Strengthen the sense of belonging the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group across all community and acute staff.
• Ensure all staff are supported to realise their full potential by strengthening leadership and providing good role models.
• Improve workforce engagement and job satisfaction to improve business performance and reduce the cost of absenteeism.
• Maximise the well‐being of our staff and their levels of contribution and engagement.As well as caring for our patients we need to do more to make our staff feel supported.
• Improve our ability to plan for the future through the attraction and retention of a skilled workforce with a focus on roles that are critical to delivering patient care.
• Identify and respond to the training and education needs of our workforce.
• Improve patient safety, experience and outcomes through the provision of excellent and innovative education to our workforce though our academic partners.
• Invest, innovate and plan for the future by providing development opportunities for employees to meet identified gaps between demand and supply for staff numbers, job roles and skills.
• Understand the current skills within the business to better utilise existing resources to their full capacity.
• Identify and retain key labour for the future ensuring a sustainable, flexible and diverse workforce to deliver health services focused on patients and people.
• Develop a robust workforce plan to support delivery of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group strategy by constantly reevaluating the skills and size of the workforce as the way in which services are provided change.