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Tuesday, 06 March 2018

Major NHS staff survey reveals work stress, pay woes and concern over care

Written by Ella Pickover

NHS staff in England are reporting lower satisfaction with the quality of work and care they are able to deliver, a major new survey has found.

The 2017 NHS staff survey - the largest workforce survey in the world - found that 66.8% of staff "agree" or "strongly agree" that they are able to deliver the care they aspire to - down from 68.2% in 2016.

The poll of more than 400,000 NHS workers found that 81.2% said they were satisfied with the quality of care they give to patients - down from 82.7% in 2016.

Meanwhile, just 31% agreed that there are enough staff in their organisation to enable them to do their job properly.

And only 31% said they were satisfied with their pay, down from 37% the previous year.

Staff also reported higher rates of feeling unwell due to work-related stress.

However the poll - conducted by the Survey Coordination Centre, based at Picker, on behalf of NHS England - found that three quarters of staff are enthusiastic about their job and seven in 10 said that if a friend or relative needed treatment, they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which represents employers in the health service, said: "The country needs to take these challenging results seriously. We cannot expect staff to absorb additional work pressures year on year without it having an adverse effect on their experience of work.

"It's disappointing but understandable that staff are less satisfied with the standard of care they are able to provide and that they are feeling more stressed.

"I am however encouraged that staff continue to be willing to recommend the NHS as a place to be cared for."

Neil Churchill, director of patient experience at NHS England, said: "Staff are going above and beyond to deliver the best care under pressure and these results show that staff appreciate the efforts of managers to listen, support and act on staff concerns.

"Nevertheless there are warning signs NHS employers will need to do all they can to ensure the NHS supports our staff to deliver the high standards expected by patients."

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "These figures bear out the warnings from nurses on the NHS frontline - patient care standards are heading in the wrong direction and nursing staff will not accept it.

"But it also reveals the sharpest of all rises in dissatisfaction with pay, now standing at 45% of the workforce - up by more than 7% in a single year. It is a timely reminder for the Chancellor that years of unfair pay deals have taken their toll and a meaningful rise is long overdue.

"More than half of NHS staff report working unpaid overtime every single week. Ministers must stop treating the goodwill and dedication of NHS staff as a replacement for adequate funding and proper workforce planning. Continuing down this path is unfair, and untenable."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire.