The King's Fund responds to the results of the NHS Staff Survey 2019

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Commenting on the NHS Staff Survey 2019 results Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development at The King’s Fund said:

‘The new government has identified the recruitment and, crucially, retention of NHS staff as an early priority and these survey results do offer some cause for cautious optimism. Despite working under relentless pressure, the NHS appears to be getting better at looking after its people, with more staff saying they feel supported by their manager and would recommend their place of work. There has also been an increase in the number of staff who say the care of patients is their organisation’s top priority.

‘However, the scale of the workforce challenge remains significant. In a huge survey of more than half a million staff, the fact that still only a third of people working in the NHS feel their organisation has enough staff for them to do their job properly should ring alarm bells. There is also a painful irony in a national health service that doesn’t do enough to look after the health of its own staff: more than half of NHS staff reported experiencing musculoskeletal problems as a result of their work, while two in five reported feeling unwell due to work-related stress.

‘It’s shocking that the number of staff experiencing discrimination, abuse or even physical violence from members of the public or service users also rose last year, particularly when this was on the grounds of their ethnic background. The number of NHS staff suffering bullying, harassment or abuse at the hands of their own colleagues also remains unacceptably high. NHS managers at all levels of the system need to focus on these results to reverse these trends.

‘These results reinforce why a system-wide workforce plan that puts people management and staff retention at the top of the agenda is so critical. The NHS People Plan has been beset with delays but it is crucial that it follows on swiftly from the Budget.’

Notes to editors

1. For more information or to request an interview please contact: Gemma Umali, Press and Public Affairs Manager, The King's Fund by phone on 0207 307 2583, or by email at

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.