NHS Staff Survey in England

Background to the NHS Staff Survey

NHS England took ownership of the NHS Staff Survey from the Department of Health in April 2013. Previously, from 2003 to 2009, the Care Quality Commission and its predecessor the Healthcare Commission owned the survey.

The NHS Staff Survey results are predominantly aimed at NHS organisations, to inform local improvements in staff experience and well-being.

The Staff Survey offers a snapshot in time of how people experience their working lives, gathered at same time each year. Its strength is in capturing a national picture alongside local detail, enabling NHS England and NHS Improvement to explore staff experience across different parts of the NHS and work to bring about the necessary improvements.

The results are also used by NHS England and NHS Improvement to support national assessments of quality and safety. The Care Quality Commission uses the results to inform their Intelligent Monitoring work to help to decide who, where and what to inspect.

Development of the Staff Survey to ensure alignment with the People Promise is ongoing; work is under way to ensure the survey asks questions relevant to each area of the Promise.

Update (27 May 2021)

The 2020 NHS Staff Survey included two free text questions, designed to provide insight into the different experiences staff had of working through the pandemic and what they would like to see continue in the longer term.

Each of the 280 NHS organisations which participated in the 2020 Survey has now received its individual data and is encouraged to fully review this to further deepen its understanding of and priorities for their NHS people’s experiences.

In total, there were some 700,000 comments split across the two questions. These have been robustly analysed in line with information governance guidance to protect anonymity and provide a richness and depth of information in addition to the quantitative data published in March.

Notes about the 2020 publication

Fieldwork for the 2020 survey took place during October and November 2020, between the first and second Covid-19 wave in England. As such, responses will be reflective of this point in time and this should be kept in mind when considering the results of the survey.

There have been several changes to the 2020 survey core questionnaire. 17 individual questions and one theme (appraisals) have been removed compared to 2019. Four questions relating to background information have been amended, whilst ten individual questions have been added. This includes six new questions relating to staff experience of working through the Covid-19 pandemic. Four of these questions cover: whether staff had worked on a Covid-19 specific ward or area at any time, whether they had been redeployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic at any time, whether they had been required to work remotely/from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and whether they had been shielding.

Further information about the changes to the 2020 questionnaire can be found in this document.

This is the first national NHS Staff Survey since the People Directorate came into being, in April 2020, followed three months later by publication of the People Plan and People Promise. The Chief People Officer, Prerana Issar, has written a blog that can be accessed here.

Latest publications

These are the latest Official Statistics for the National NHS Staff Survey in England published on 11 March 2021. More information about the survey can be found on the Survey Coordination Centre website.

The 2020 NHS National Staff Survey free text commentary published on 27 May 2021. More information can be found on the Staff Survey Co-ordination Centre website.

Pre-Release Access Lists

2020 Final Approved PRA Staff Survey

2020 NHS National Staff Survey free text commentary PRA List

Contact us

For further information, please contact:

Analytical Services, NHS England and NHS Improvement, Room 5E26, Quarry House, Leeds, LS2 7UE

Email: england.feedback-data@nhs.net