West Herts Hospitals Trust has been named Best UK employer of the year, in the coveted Nursing Times awards.
The trust, which runs Hemel, Watford and St Albans hospitals, was singled out for its sustained progress over recent years. It is now two years since West Herts came out of special measures, which it first entered in 2015.
Initiatives such as a successful nurse recruitment campaign, new career development opportunities, reduced use of agency staff, and various efforts to raise levels of morale and engagement, were all praised by judges.
Earlier this year the number of vacancies in adult in-patient wards fell from 28 per cent to zero.
Staff wellbeing has been promoted with free health checks, mindfulness sessions, keep fit classes on site, and discounted gym memberships, as well as courses on stress management and mental health.
And a recent NHS staff survey put West Herts in the top 20 per cent of trusts for staff engagement.
Tracey Carter, the trust’s chief nurse, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we’ve been recognised as the ‘Best UK Employer’ by the Nursing Times. It is such a fantastic achievement and reflects the dedication and commitment of all our team here at West Herts, over a number of years.
“Nursing is a wonderful profession but it can be really hard work. We want our nurses – and all our staff – to enjoy their jobs and build their careers with us and that’s why we’ve put in so much support for them.
“Evidence shows that the happiness of the workforce has an impact on patient care and so we’re thrilled that our efforts to be a great place to work are paying off. The results speak for themselves in our falling vacancy rates and in the positive feedback to the staff survey.”
Paul da Gama, the trust’s chief people officer, said: “Being named best UK employer is just brilliant.
“I am incredibly proud of everyone who has played a part in our journey to make West Herts a truly great place to work and learn and it’s fantastic that this has been recognised by the Nursing Times.
“We look forward to building on this success over the coming years.”