The Department uses engagement scores in the NHS Staff Survey1 as a proxy for assessing trends in the level of morale in the National Health Service workforce. As employers across the NHS are responsible for the morale of their staff, the main function of the NHS Staff Survey is to help trusts benchmark their performance against peers to inform plans for improving their staff’s experience of working for the NHS. According to the latest (2016) NHS Staff Survey, staff engagement has risen to its highest level, 3.79/5 up from 3.68 when it was first recorded in 2012. Across the 32 key measures, over 80% were more positive than last year. 90% of NHS staff report their organisation takes positive action on staff health and well-being.
However, there is no room for complacency. Engagement scores ranging from acute specialist trusts at 3.94 to ambulance trusts at 3.43.
The Department, therefore, continues to commission NHS Employers to support trusts in improving staff experience (covering staff engagement, health and wellbeing)2 through advice, guidance and good practice including, for example, NHS Employers staff engagement resource library3. NHS Employers is also working with NHS England and Public Health England on NHS England’s initiative4 to improve staff health and wellbeing which includes a “CQUIN”5 (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) incentive payment for trusts to focus on getting staff better access to health and wellbeing initiatives, supporting them to make healthy choices and lead healthy lives.
The NHS Social Partnership Forum which includes the Department, unions and employers, is supporting efforts to improve NHS staff morale having launched its “call to action”6 to NHS bodies to tackle high levels of bullying and harassment. Drawing on evidence and frontline experiences, this initiative includes resources, advice and good practice to help organisations develop local plans.