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Press release

The King’s Fund responds to the latest NHS Staff Survey

Commenting on the results of the latest NHS Staff Survey, Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive at The King’s Fund, said: 

‘While there are some positive improvements across various indicators, 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. As we head towards a general election, any government wanting to stabilise the NHS workforce must take action, including delivering and building on the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. This will involve actions such as expanding the flexible working offer, ringfencing funding for staff wellbeing hubs, and supporting the development of high-quality compassionate and inclusive leaders in health and care.  

‘Recruiting enough NHS staff is only one part of the workforce challenge. Just as important is retaining staff, and today’s survey results include some cause for concern. The results show that two in five staff report feeling unwell due to work-related stress. Concerningly, the results regularly show that young staff aged between 21-30-years-old are generally the most dissatisfied in their role, with this year no exception – 29% are considering a new job in the next 12 months. 

‘There are also different levels of staff satisfaction depending on the type of service staff work in, with ambulance trusts consistently having the highest proportion of staff reporting that they plan to leave the service.  

‘For all the heated debate about equality and diversity initiatives in the NHS, the results of this survey speak for themselves. There is a worsening trend of staff experiencing discrimination at the hands of colleagues and the public. Black, Asian and ethnic minority staff consistently report higher rates of discrimination than their white colleagues. Only 56% of NHS staff feel their workplace acts fairly when it comes to career progression, regardless of protected characteristics. There are substantial disparities in how different staff groups experience working in the NHS, and it is a problem the government and the NHS cannot ignore. 

‘While there has been some improvement compared to last year, amid ongoing industrial action it is no surprise that less than a third of NHS staff are satisfied with their level of pay and only 61% of staff would recommend their organisation as a place of work. 

‘For the first time, the survey results also captured the experience of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is possible that the true scale could be much higher than the 4% of staff reporting these experiences from colleagues, and therefore clear action is needed on every level to make the NHS a safe place to work for all.’ 

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585.

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.

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