The King's Fund response to the NHS staff survey

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Dan Wellings, Senior Fellow in Policy at The King’s Fund, said:

‘The NHS as a whole has done extremely well over the last few years in improving levels of staff engagement despite the huge pressure it faces. It is also seems that the NHS is continuing to try to do more to support its staff, with this year’s survey showing small increases in the proportion of people having appraisals and saying their manager is interested in their health and wellbeing.

‘But these pressures are clearly now taking their toll on staff, with staff engagement falling for the first time since 2014, people saying they are less happy with the quality of care they are able to deliver, and levels of work-related stress increasing. The NHS will also be extremely concerned by both the increase in the proportion of people experiencing discrimination in the last year and the fall in people thinking their organisation provides equal opportunities for career progression. It is also deeply worrying that staff from ethnic minorities are much less likely to think their organisation provides equal opportunities.

‘We should also reflect on the big drop in the proportion of staff who are satisfied with their salary. Our own work shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the NHS to recruit and retain the staff it needs to deliver safe and good quality care – this drop is likely to make this task even more challenging.’

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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.