NORTHWICH’S Victoria Infirmary and Leighton Hospital have retained their Investors in People (IIP) standard, despite concern about staff morale.

The Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, received an excellent-rated report from the external assessment team from the Centre for Assessment and Recognition North West.

The assessors’ highlighted that there was a strong commitment to employee development as well as a strong commitment to equality of opportunity. This had led to a number of recent successes including reduced waiting times, a large reduction in staff absences, and the achievement winning a Public Sector Turnaround Team of the Year award.

Their report complimented the way in which the trust looks to reward achievement and celebrates success at both an individual and organisational level.

It noted, however, that service reviews, to meet the every changing demands on the hospital, had had an impact of staff morale in some areas but that in the main, staff felt that they had been fully engaged in these reviews.

John O’Sullivan, the managing assessor for the North West Centre said: “It is clear that since 2007, progress has been made to improve engagement and consultation with staff across the trust’s two hospitals. A clearer leadership and management strategy has been established in the trust and there has been a sharper focus on recognising and rewarding staff for their hard work and ideas.

“The assessment team saw evidence of sharing of good practice and a culture of cross-team working towards continuous improvement.”

The trust’s director of workforce and service development Rachel Alcock, said: “We have worked hard to ensure our staff are supported and encouraged to develop to their full potential, putting in place processes to identify and review learning development needs.”