The NHS National Staff Survey 2022 results highlight the ongoing pressures within the NHS, with concerning falls in staff satisfaction around some key indicators.
The survey shows a decline in scores against some key markers of staff experience, discontent on pay and an overall decrease in staff morale.
More positive news comes with an improvement in staff perception of support for learning and development, alongside increases in feelings around positive teamworking and support from line managers.
The survey focuses on a range of themes and sub themes aligning with the NHS People Promise, published as part of the NHS People Plan 2020/21. Questions are grouped under the following areas:
- We are compassionate and inclusive
- We are recognised and rewarded
- We each have a voice that counts
- We are safe and healthy
- We are always learning
- We work flexibly
- We are a team
- Staff morale
- Staff engagement
The overall picture shows that in five of the themes, scores were broadly the same as in 2021. Two themes showing worse results in 2022 were feeling recognised and rewarded, and staff morale. While the two themes seeing improvements were we are always learning and we are a team.
Concerns over care
The overall willingness of staff to recommend the NHS as a place to work has seen one of the biggest shifts, falling from 59.4 per cent to 57.4 per cent.
There is lower staff confidence in the quality of care they feel able to deliver, compared with last year’s results. And staff willingness to recommend the NHS as a place to be cared for has fallen from 67.8 per cent to 62.9 per cent.
The percentage of staff feeling satisfied with pay has fallen from 32.6 per cent in 2021 to 25.6 per cent in 2022, which largely accounts for the fall in the theme for recognition and reward.
There continues to be high levels of staff attending work when unwell as well as staff considering leaving, which is the main reason for the fall in morale indictor.
Broadly stable picture
Themes which saw a more stable picture against 2021 were compassionate and inclusive leadership, having a voice that counts, a healthy and safe working environment and flexible working.
Most markers of health and wellbeing and staff engagement were also broadly stable, but some have improved.
It is especially positive to see improvements in areas where employers have focused activity, in particular on learning and development and support from line managers.
The score for teamworking was boosted by an increase in teams meeting to consider objectives and by an increase on all questions measuring support from line managers.
On compassionate and inclusive leadership there was a small fall in the culture sub theme due to the fall in the staff willingness to recommend the NHS, while the sub theme scores on support from managers and overall equality and inclusion held steady.
Although the overall score for a voice that counts remained the same, there was a fall in the sub theme measuring freedom to speak up.
Sub themes scores within the healthy and safe working environment theme did not change except for a small improvement on the burnout sub theme.
On flexible working, the work-life balance score remained the same and there was a small improvement on the sub theme score for working flexibly.
On staff engagement, the sub theme scores for motivation and advocacy fell but there was an improvement in sub theme score for involvement.
The data on equality issues gives an overall measure of equality and diversity. The equality and diversity sub score remained the same as last year.
Despite there being an improvement in staff confidence on equality issues, there has been an increase in staff experiencing discrimination from the public and no change in the levels of discrimination from managers or colleagues.
The staff survey publication also included updated data on Workforce Race Equality and Workforce Disability Standard indicators. There is also further data on staff experience broken down by all protected characteristics.
This data continues to show negative gaps in staff experience, NHS Employers will be looking at this data in more detail to address issues raised.
The fact that some scores held up despite the current context is a positive reflection of the work by employers in these areas and especially action on leadership and culture, health and wellbeing, flexible working and staff engagement.
The scores on these measures do though remain lower than pre-pandemic and the falls in staff confidence on reporting concerns, willingness to recommend and rising pressures on staff are a cause for concern.