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2013 staff survey shows positive progress on key issues

The results of the 2013 NHS Staff Survey have been released. This is the tenth annual staff survey and is a unique snapshot of staff views of their experience at work and on NHS services.

The survey shows steady progress on improving staff experience and growing confidence in the quality of care. NHS Employers has welcomed the results as a vote of confidence in the service.

Overall 21 of the 28 key scores improved. In particular there was a notable improvement in the staff engagement indicators and also on appraisal levels and most importantly a strengthened confidence in quality of patient care.

Scores stayed broadly stable in areas of health and wellbeing and raising concerns at work. There remained issues of significant concern on some issues such as violence, bullying and harassment and staff reporting pressure to work when unwell. There remained a high level of variation between highest and lowest scores and some organisations face major challenges in improving their scores.

Staff survey infographic

For the first time this year, NHS Employers has produced an infographic that summarises the key results and compares them to the results from last year and from 2007, to let you see at a glance where the national results have gone up or down. Download our 2013 staff survey infographic.

To provide some further analysis we have looked at the 2013 results in terms of the staff pledges below.

Staff Pledge one (quality of job)

The vast majority of staff continued to be strongly committed to their jobs, with nine out of ten reporting that they feel their role makes a difference. Overall levels of job satisfaction improved from 3.58 to 3.61 and staff became more willing to recommend the NHS as an employer. Staff continue to have concerns about levels of pay and adequacy of staffing, despite recent increases in staffing levels.

Staff Pledge Two (training and development)

There was a small further improvement in levels of appraisal, the percentage of staff reporting their appraisal as well structured rose by 1.7%. There was an improvement in levels of training in key areas, such as training to provider better patient care and overall health and safety training.

Staff Pledge Three Health and Safety/Wellbeing

Most indicators in this area remained stable. For example, there was no movement on perceptions of organisational action on these issues. Around 30% of staff continue to report pressure to work when unwell and levels of both physical violence (15%) and bullying and harassment (23%) remain stable.

Staff Pledge Four (Staff engagement and involvement)

This area registered the greatest improvement. The indicator is made up of scores for job satisfaction,  motivation, levels of involvement and willingness to act as an advocate for the organisation by recommending it. Motivation scores improved from 3.82 to 3.84. The key involvement measure, i.e. ability to contribute toward improvements at work, increased from 67 to 68%. The percentage who felt involved in decision making also improved to 54% and ability to make suggestions rose to 75%.

The willingness to recommend the organisation rose to almost two thirds of staff with a further 24% not responding. 11% would not recommend their organisation to their friends and family.

The overall staff engagement indicator rose from 3.68 to 3.71 which is very positive progress in such challenging times. This indicator is strongly associated with better levels of patient satisfaction.

Raising concerns

The majority of staff reported that they would know how to raise concerns and would feel safe in doing so. There are a minority of organisations where this is not the case and overall the awareness of how to report concerns worsened slightly.


Scores in this area remained stable. The majority of staff continued to believe that their organisation acts fairly in employment matters, although this belief is not shared equally by all groups and is not the case in every organisation. There was a welcome increase in equality and diversity training.

Views on patient care

The survey is a vote of confidence from staff in the NHS. Just over two thirds report that patient care is their organisation’s top priority with ten per cent reporting it is not . As noted above, almost two thirds would recommend their organisation as a place to be treated. Seven  out of ten are happy with the quality of care that they are able to deliver with 16% reporting this question does not apply to them.

There are some concerns over staffing levels with small increase in the percentage who feel that staffing levels are inadequate (30%) though it is worth noting that as many (31%) believe that they are.

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