NH staff survey

NHS publishes staff survey results

The results from the latest NHS staff survey have been published today, bringing insight from every NHS trust in England.

The survey, which was conducted last autumn, gathered a 48% response rate across the more-than 1.4 million NHS employees in England.

This represents over 707,000 responses which is significantly higher than the 665,000 that participated in the previous survey.

The survey results are split into eight sections, which are:

  • We are compassionate and inclusive
  • We are recognised and rewarded
  • We each have a voice that counts
  • We are safe and healthy
  • We are always learning
  • We work flexibly
  • We are a team
  • Staff engagement
  • Morale
  • Patient safety

Around 11 in 20 (56.4%) said they felt their organisation acted fairly with regard to career progression, regardless of ethnic background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. This is a slight improvement on last year (55.98%) but less than 2019 (56.81%).

Nearly a tenth (9.07%) reported being on the receiving end of discrimination from a manager, team leader or colleague – slightly higher than last year (9%).

Over half (54.72%) reported being satisfied with the recognition they get for their work, a jump from last year (52.46%) but still down from 2019 (58.09%).

"The survey reveals important progress has been made…”

Less than a third (31.23%) were happy with pay, which, while a significant improvement from last year (25.61%) is still a reduction from 2019 (37.89%).

Around seven in 10 (71.28%) said they felt secure in raising concerns about clinical safety, which is less than the previous four years.

Approximately 11 in 20 (56.81%) said they were confident about their organisation addressing such a concern – a slight improvement on last year (56.73%) but less than the three prior.

Over three in five (62.31%) felt safe to speak up about concerns in general, which is better than last year’s result (61.52%); as was their confidence in addressing these concerns – just over half (50.7%) for the this year and slightly less (48.69%) for 2022.

A quarter (25.78%) of staff said they had received abuse from patients or service users, which is a reduction compared to last year (27.67%).

This was closer to one in 10 (10.17%) from managers and nearly two in 10 (18.09%) from other colleagues – both slightly less than the previous year (11.1% & 18.72% respectively).

Just under a third (32.4%) thought they had enough staff at their organisation to do their job properly, which is a significant improvement from 2022 (26.39%) but still short of 2020’s result (38.28%).

“This reflects the concerted efforts that leadership team…”

Fewer staff felt burnt out in 2023 (30.38%) compared to the previous year – a trend which was reflected in all other similar questions.

For the first time, staff in 2023 were asked if they were the target of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature – less than one in 10 (8.67%) reported at least one incident from patients, while less than one in 20 (3.84%) did so from other staff.

Around 11 in 20 (55.98%) staff felt there were opportunities for them to develop their career at their organisation, which was an improvement on the last two years. This was similar for opportunities to improve knowledge and skills.

The vast majority (83.51%) of people said they have had an appraisal, annual review, development review, or knowledge and skills framework development review in the last year, which was more than 2022 (81.25%) but less than 2019 (86.17%).

Of these people, one in four (25.49%) said the review helped them improve how they did their job, which is higher than previous years.

Just under half (49.61%) of the respondents believed their organisation was committed to enabling a good balance between work and home life; the score from last year was closer to nine in 20 (45.83%).

Over 11 in 20 (55.86%) thought they had achieved a good balance between their work and home life, which is also higher than last year (52.56%).

While most people (81.58%) said they enjoy working with their colleagues, which was the same as last year, only three in five (59.94%) said their team had enough freedom.

Over 11 in 20 (57.11%) said disagreements were dealt with constructively – slightly higher than 2022 (56.01%).

Over half (55.17%) of staff said they look forward to work, which is more than the last two years but short of before the pandemic (59.48%).

Three-quarters said that patient care is their organisation’s number one priority, which is less than the four in five score (79.57%) from 2019.

“…there is still work to do to make health and care a more attractive career.”

Just over three in five (61.12%) would recommend their organisation in 2023, compared to around 11 in 20 (57.42%) from 2022.

Just under 13 in 20 (64.97%) said that, if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care at their organisation – this was closer to three in four (74.27%) in 2020.

Three in 10 (29.12%) said they often think about leaving their organisation; while this is less than the last two years, it is still more than 2020 (26.58%) and 2019 (28.44%).

The same trend was observed in the questions for whether staff will look to leave in the next 12 months, or will definitely leave as soon as they can.

Approximately nine in 20 (46.71%) reported being able to meet all the conflicting demands at work, which is the highest since 2020 (47.64%).

Just under six in 10 (58.49%) said they had the requisite materials, supplies and equipment to do their job, which is also the highest since 2020 (60.3%).

A third (33.19%) of staff reported being witness to errors, near misses or incidents that could have hurt staff or patients in the last month, which was similar to the previous year (33.4%).

The vast majority (86.33%) said their organisation encourages them to report such instances, which is broadly the same as 2022 (86.07%) as well.

Just over two-thirds (68.15%) believed their organisation took action to ensure the incidents did not happen again when they were reported – slightly more than 2022 (67.37%).

NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said: "The survey reveals important progress has been made but the NHS still has a long way to go.”

Danny Mortimer, the chief executive at NHS Employers, commented: “Amid ongoing industrial action and winter pressures, the latest staff survey shows positive progress in five of the eight overall indicators despite the challenges facing the NHS.

“This reflects the concerted efforts that leadership teams have been making in recent years to improve the experience of their people”.

The King’s Fund’s chief executive, Sarah Woolnough, explained: “There are some positive improvements across various indicators, but we can’t ignore the main message from this survey; that NHS staff are feeling undervalued, stretched and unwell and there is still work to do to make health and care a more attractive career.”

Ruth Thorlby, the Health Foundation’s assistant director of policy, added: “Today’s results show some glimmers of hope in the levels of stress and exhaustion experienced by NHS staff after a difficult few years, but suggest that staff morale is still in a precarious state in the face of persistent pressures.”

More information on the NHS staff survey is available here.

Image credit: iStock

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