NHS England publishes latest staff survey results

The NHS 2015 Staff Survey is published today and shows significant improvements in a number of key areas despite the rising demands on staff and services.

The survey was carried out between September and December 2015 across 297 NHS organisations. 299,000 staff responses were gathered, approximately a quarter of the permanent NHS workforce in England, and revealed a number of positives:

  • 80% of staff feel able to do their job to a standard they are personally pleased with – up from 78% last year
  • 73% of staff said that patient care is their organisation’s top priority – up from 67% last year
  • 89% of staff agree that their organisation takes positive action on employee health and wellbeing
  • Staff engagement has risen steadily over the past four years, and is now the highest it has been in the past five years
  • The proportion of staff saying they are able to contribute towards improvements at work has risen from 59% five years ago to 70%
  • The percentage of staff witnessing potentially harmful errors, near misses or incidents in the last month is at its lowest level since 2011

However, there are still a number of challenges facing NHS employers, with a third of respondents reporting work related stress in the past 12 months, 48 per cent of respondents feeling there should be more staff at their organisation, and the percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from fellow staff is 25 per cent. 11 per cent of staff said they had experienced discrimination at work in the past 12 months.

This is the thirteenth annual survey of NHS staff and is designed to help NHS organisations improve staff experience. The Care Quality Commission will use the results to help make sure essential safety and quality standards are met.

Obtaining feedback from staff, and taking account of their views and priorities, is vital for driving real service improvements in the NHS. In a summary of the key research findings which has been published alongside the data, Prof Jeremy Dawson of the University of Sheffield and Prof Michael West of The King’s Fund conclude that the more engaged a workforce is, the better the outcomes for patients.

Taking part in the survey is mandatory for all NHS Trusts – foundation trusts, acute and specialist hospital trusts, ambulance service trusts, mental health, community and learning disability trusts – but voluntary for other parts of the NHS such as clinical commissioning groups, social enterprises and commissioning support units.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “This feedback from 300,000 frontline NHS staff contains encouraging signs that the health service is steadily becoming a more supportive employer, but it also includes continuing warning signs about the importance of every employer tackling discrimination, bullying and harassment, supporting staff health and wellbeing, and giving staff the support they need to provide compassionate high quality care. The best NHS employers know that staff wellbeing and high quality patient care are two sides of the same coin.”

Neil Churchill, Director for Patient Experience at NHS England, said: “Staff feedback is a good way of predicting patient experience and the improvements we have seen in levels of staff motivation and engagement promise future improvements in the quality of patient care. It is also clear, however, that staff face growing pressures in meeting rising levels of patient need. The quality of staff experience needs to remain a high priority for the NHS if we are to support our staff and sustain improvements in patient experience.”

For the full survey results, please visit the NHS Staff Survey website.


  1. Ken Hall says:

    As a NHS Whistleblower I can say I have never read such nonsense in all my life. These surveys can always be manipulated to give you the answers you want. Since i opened up about my former NHS employer I am at the point where they have gone hell for leather to try and get me struck off and silenced as much as they can. I feel these whistleblowing policies are only for show and thats all they are good for!

  2. Hugo says:

    This whole synopsis stinks of PR rather than actual enlightenment. To take one example:
    “The percentage of staff witnessing potentially harmful errors, near misses or incidents in the last month is at its lowest level since 2011”
    Note they don’t say what that figure is. Is it 1 in a million or 1 in 10? This is very important and to just say it’s better than it was is next to useless.

  3. j karna says:

    More manipulation of statistics to provide that all is wonderful in the NHS
    utopian world.
    Staff realise that if they whistle blow they will be dealt with.There are numerous examples of this being presented in the real world.
    What was the overall response rate?

  4. Susan Denise Griffiths says:

    I worked for Clatter bridge Cancer centre for 15 years,unfortunately I was off sick with work related stress for 4 months and had 2 other illnesses across 2 years I had been off the equivalent of 6 months had numerous warnings whilst I was ill, and they sacked me due to unacceptable sickness levelsm, this is somethingthat is happening quite a lot and needs to be addressed properly, when you’re ill this is the last thing you need, it’s support and encouragement to get well again, I was at my lowest point in life,lots going on at work and personal life, I feel w
    veryhard done by,and to top it all they escorted me off the premises like a criminal it was awful, is this really how management should be allowed to treat staff, as I said I had worked there for 15 years and loved my job as a band 5 pharmacy technician in aseptics. I am just one of many.

  5. Ian says:

    Where is the change over time information for the ” matters of concern”?
    Strangely this is published for the “good” results; so the inference must be that the “bad” is getting considerably worse.

  6. Martin says:

    25% of staff nationally reporting experience of bullying or harrassment is completely unacceptable and merits special investigation. When I worked for a large private sector organisation even 3% was considered cause for concern.

  7. Carol says:

    The survey seems to only cover hospitals, In Primary care I was the only General Practice Nurse, work life balance was ridiculous. In fact, the only way l was able to manage the stresses and strain was to leave my employment.
    To this day l am really upset by this as working as a nurse caring for others, l felt no one cared for me. My mental health and well being was not valued. How can l be expected to care for others when l have been up all night caring for my teminally ill husband and three school age children.

  8. Jacky Glover says:

    What was the overall response % rate?
    Was general practice and community services surveyed?

    many thanks

  9. David Peach says:

    Many will have felt pressure in giving a good response not knowing the Trusts will or will not examine the results and punish those who give a poor response

  10. Malcolm says:

    Why do only a quarter of staff respond to this survey? Probably because they see no point to it – just another form to fill in. Don’t assume that they don’t respond because they are content – quite the reverse.