Objectives: NHS scientists and technicians are part of the Professional Technical and Scientific job family within the NHS, but to date, little is known about their experiences at work. The need to retain skilled and highly qualified laboratory staff in hospitals around the UK is just as essential as maintaining staff levels in medicine, nursing and professions allied to medicine. Given the size of this group (50,000 Biochemists, Haematologists, Cardiac physiologists etc.) and the key role that they play within the NHS, it is perhaps surprising that there has been very little research about the quality of the working lives and job satisfaction of NHS health scientists, despite job satisfaction dominating the work and organisational literature for more than 50 years. This professional group have been neglected at a time when we are witnessing unparalleled rises in demands for health care services, cutbacks and restrictions on budgets, and major reforms in the National Health Service (NHS). This paper will report on a subset of findings from our Medical Research Council funded project extending working lives – challenges and Prospects. Specifically it will report how restricted flexibility and autonomy is harming job satisfaction among this professional group, as these shortages can only get worse, given that international recruits into the NHS is dropping year on year.Methods: A survey gathered the data. The sample comprised of 100 females (mean age 47) and 58 males (mean age 51). A moderated mediation analysis will characterise the relationships between commitment to the NHS, job demands, job satisfaction and flexibility and control.Results: A number of key findings will emerge; lack of flexibility and autonomy significantly predicted job satisfaction, but commitment reduces these negative influences.Conclusions: Labour shortages in the NHS are well known and the current crisis is causing significant concern among the senior executives responsible for managing the NHS. These new findings demonstrate that these shortages mean that very specialised and small groups of scientists have less flexibility in their working day and this is harming job satisfaction. Commitment to the NHS is for the time being is acting as a buffer against these harmful effects on job satisfaction. An arising and unclear issue relates to the impact of progressive privatisation of scientific services and associated enforced NHS staff migrations are having on the detected buffering effect.Implications for health policy and research are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - 15 May 2018|