NHS staff are putting in more extra hours than ever before but remain committed to the health service and satisfied with their jobs, according to the results of the 2016 NHS Staff Survey.
The survey of more than 400,000 NHS staff at all levels found that 73% regularly work extra hours, up from 64% in 2011, with 59% saying they were not paid any overtime for extra work. Almost half of respondents said there were not enough staff working in their organisation to meet patient care needs, and almost a third said they were unable to manage conflicting demands on their time.
Despite the pressure on staff, measures of staff engagement and job satisfaction are proving resilient. The overall “staff engagement” score was more or less unchanged at 3.79 (out of five), with 58% of staff saying they looked forward to going work each day. Staff were slightly more inclined to recommend their organisation as a place to work or get treatment than in 2015. However, satisfaction with pay remained low at just 37%.
“The survey paints a very clear picture of committed and resilient staff working under tremendous pressure,” said MiP chief executive Jon Restell. “We have always said the NHS runs on the goodwill of its staff and that has never been more true than now.”
“But employers and the government need to do much more to support staff through the next round of destabilising changes, reward them fairly for the exceptional work they do, and put in place a proper workforce strategy to tackle staff and skills shortages,” he added.
Levels of bullying and harassment remain at an unacceptable levels, with 24% experiencing such behaviour by managers or staff in 2016, a very slight fall from 2015 levels, and 13% saying they have been bullied by their manager more than once.
The proportion of staff saying they were able to contribute towards improvements at work and had frequent opportunities to show initiative rose from 70% to 75% last year. There was also a vote of confidence for line managers, with 71% feeling valued by their immediate manager, although only 33% believed they were listened to by senior management.