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NHS employees have their say

There are a number of positives to be taken from the latest NHS staff survey, although the organisation's senior management acknowledges the need for further improvement in some areas.

The 2015 NHS Staff Survey, published in February, shows significant improvements in staff satisfaction levels. Despite the widely reported increased pressures on frontline workers such as doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, there was an encouraging 3% increase in the number of staff who felt able to do their job to a standard they felt comfortable with (up from 78% to 80%). Staff engagement has risen steadily to reach its highest level in the past five years and there was a 2% increase in the number of people who would recommend their organisation as a place to work.

There was also strong endorsement of the strategy to improve health and wellbeing amongst NHS staff, as discussed in this previous blog post. 89% of staff surveyed agreed that their organisation takes positive action in this respect. 

However, there were some findings that give cause for concern. For example, 25% of staff said they had experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from fellow staff and 11% said that they were the victims of discrimination at work. In addition, as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists has pointed out in their response to the survey, the results highlight a number of areas where more progress needs to be made in staff welfare. For example, 25% of respondents reported experiencing musculoskeletal problems as a result of work activities.

"This feedback from 300,000 frontline NHS staff contains encouraging signs that the health service is steadily becoming a more supportive employer, " said NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens, "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."

Distributed to 741,000 staff in 297 organisations, the NHS Staff Survey is the largest survey of staff opinion in the UK, perhaps in the world. Full results of the 2015 survey are available here.

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