2021 NHS Staff Survey results

Commenting on today’s NHS Staff Survey Results, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:

‘The results of today’s NHS Staff Survey are, sadly, not unexpected. Having worked without respite during the pandemic, the NHS workforce is understandably exhausted and feeling the pressure. More staff reported illness due to work-related stress, while fewer are satisfied with the standard of care they can provide amid growing concerns about vacancies.

‘While the government’s objective is now to ‘live with COVID’, the pandemic has not gone away, emergency care continues to experience historic pressure and waiting lists are at a record high. Our updated analysis has found that to meet the 18-week referral target the NHS would need an extra 6,200 consultants and 25,700 nurses by the end of this parliament*. This is over and above existing NHS vacancies, which recently increased to over 110,000**.

‘These findings, alongside the latest British Social Attitudes Survey, which showed public satisfaction with the NHS is at its lowest recorded level since 1997, are a cause for concern. There appears to be no public appetite for radical reform of the NHS, but the public and staff are sending a clear message that the government must take action to address staff shortages. And with so many staff suffering burnout, it is crucial the government and system leaders support the health and wellbeing of the workforce and prioritises staff recovery alongside wider service recovery.

‘A fully funded workforce strategy is urgently needed. MPs will today vote on an amendment to the NHS Bill which will require the Secretary of State to publish independently verified assessments of past and future NHS workforce needs. It is vital that MPs support this amendment if we are to finally address this issue which is so central to the future sustainability of the health service.’