NHS Staff Survey 2017

form on a tablet

The results of the 2017 staff survey were released by NHS England at 9:30am on Tuesday 6 March 2018.

487,227 NHS staff took part in the survey which equates to a response rate of 45 per cent and makes it the largest employee opinion survey in the world.


The results show a service under strain. Staff report that they are working under more pressure and feel less able to deliver a good quality service. They feel less enthusiastic about their jobs and more dissatisfied with pay. Across a range of indicators they report worse experience than in 2016, although scores are still higher than in 2014.  Some progress has been made in some areas such as increased support from managers and more confidence that the organisation takes action on health and wellbeing. 

Key findings

Key findings are the overall measures within the survey grouping together the answers to individual questions.

Of the 32 key findings in the survey 21 worsened and 11 improved. Questions were scored out of 5.

Staff confidence in quality of care, willingness to recommend the NHS as a place to work, staff engagement, and most health and wellbeing markers was worse than in 2016.

  • The overall key finding on whether staff are willing to recommend the NHS as a place to work or be treated fell from 3.65 to 3.64.
  • The key finding on whether staff feel satisfied with the quality of care they are able to deliver also fell from 3.93 to 3.90.
  • The overall staff engagement index fell from 3.82 to 3.80.
  • The key finding on whether staff experience work related stress rose from 36 to 38 per cent.

There were positive improvements in three key finding areas.

  • The key finding on staff confidence in management and organisational action on health and well being (introduced in 2015 as a measure of organisational action) rose from 3.62 to 3.63.
  • The key finding on support from line managers rose from 3.75 to 3.77.
  • The key finding on quality of staff appraisal rose from 3.10 to 3.11.


There were some clear trends across the survey. Indicators linked to staff assessment of quality and experience of work reflected the intense pressures on the NHS. There were mixed results for staff engagement and health and wellbeing. There were positive trends in results for measures of people management, for example on appraisal and the role of line managers.

  • Staff perception of the quality of care they are able to deliver worsened. The key finding fell, though it remains higher than in 2015. By contrast the measure of whether staff would feel be willing to recommend the care provided by their organisation remained stable.
  • On staff engagement the overall index of engagement fell. This was due largely to a fall in the index of motivation (from 3.92 to 3.90) arising from falls in questions on whether staff are enthusiastic about and look forward to going to work. The key finding on staff involvement also fell  from 70 to 69 per cent. Overall staff engagement remained higher than in 2014.
  • On health and wellbeing some of the measures on individual staff health worsened, for example rising levels of stress and the percentage or staff attending when unwell (53 per cent). However, there was an improvement in the measures on line manager support and organisational action on health and wellbeing.
  • There was a sustained improvement in almost all measures of support from line managers leading to a rise in the overall indicator. There were also small improvements in the areas of quality of appraisal and training. The indicator on staff confidence to raise concerns remained stable at 3.67.
  • There was no substantial movement in the measures of bullying, harassment and abuse against staff whether by patients and relatives (28 per cent) or by managers and other staff (24 per cent). The reporting rate improved slightly to 46 per cent. The levels of violence against staff remained high at 15 per cent, unchanged from 2016.
  • On equality issues there was a rise in the percentage of staff feeling they had been discriminated against, up from 11 to 12 per cent, and a fall in those believing the organisation provides equal opportunities, down from 85 to 84 per cent.

There is a spreadsheet containing five-year question-level data for all questions in the 2017 Staff Survey (where comparable), and the same information for the key findings is also available.

More detailed analysis of WRES indicators can be found on the NHS staff survey website

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