NHS Staff Survey 2023: health and wellbeing overview

Summary of the health and wellbeing findings from the 2023 NHS Staff Survey.

12 March 2024

The overall picture on health and wellbeing in the NHS Staff Survey 2023 is one of improvement but still with big challenges. 

The overall measure of healthy and safe workplaces groups together questions on violence and health and wellbeing. 

However, due to data collection issues this year it was not possible to report the results on violence, therefore it was not possible to calculate the overall health and safety indicator.

It is possible though to look at the trends in individual questions, and organisations are encouraged to do this to benchmark their progress. 

Feeling supported

The majority of questions around health and wellbeing showed improved results. There was particular improvement in the percentage of staff feeling their organisation takes positive action on health and wellbeing. This rose from 56 per cent to almost 58 per cent - the highest score on this indicator in the last three years. 

This is an encouraging indicator given the ongoing pressures in the service and the widespread changes to provision of staff health and wellbeing support. 

The percentage of staff feeling supported on health and wellbeing by their line manager also stayed high, at 75 per cent. 

It is not clear why there is such a big gap between the scores on these two measures. It may be due to how staff perceive health and wellbeing support in their organisation, or the personal approach of their line manager. 

It could also be due to slightly different wording, in that the organisational question refers to "positive action" whereas the line manager question refers to "interest".

Stress and sickness 

Scores relating to staff feeling stressed and experiencing burnout fell slightly. This is a positive given the context but these measures remain unacceptably high. 

There was a small fall in staff attending work when unwell, though this remains high at 54 per cent. ‘Presenteeism’ clearly remains a big challenge in the NHS which needs to be addressed.

Questions on bullying and harassment are not included in the health and wellbeing measure but it is worth noting the small improvement on these measures. Levels do remain very high however, and there are higher rates for staff with protected characteristics. 

Further information 

Although the overall indicator for healthy and safe workplaces has not been published for 2023 the comparative data on health and wellbeing scores can still be accessed via the interactive tool on the NHS England Staff Survey website.

The website can also show trend data and data by demographic group to help understand the experience of all staff groups.  

The Staff Survey Coordination Centre hopes to be able to share data on workplace violence in the future. 

To learn more about the findings on staff engagement, see our staff engagement overview. 

For more on the wider 2023 survey findings, see our analysis of all the key themes.

Health and wellbeing resources

NHS Employers offers a wide range of health and wellbeing guidance and support on our website. 

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