NHS staff satisfaction with the quality of their work and making a difference

The staff pledges that are part of the NHS Constitution define what the NHS expects from staff and what staff can expect from NHS employers. One of these pledges is to provide all staff with clear roles and responsibilities and rewarding jobs for teams and individuals that make a difference to patients, their families and carers and communities.

Staff satisfaction with the quality of work and patient care they are able to deliver

In the NHS in England, the percentage of staff personally pleased with the standard and quality of care they provide to patients increased from 60% in 2008 to a peak of 77% in 2014. This level of satisfaction varies across staff in different settings: prior to 2011, mental health and learning disability staff had the lowest satisfaction with their work and ambulance trust staff had the highest. The following year there was a reversal and ambulance trusts have had the lowest level of satisfaction with resourcing and support .In 2014, ambulance trust staff were 4 percentage points lower (73%) than the national average (77%).

In 2015, the responses were calculated as a scale, rather than a percentage, to better capture the nuance of respondents’ answers. This scale, which ranges from 1 (strongly disagree, positive) to 5 (strongly agree, negative), varies less across staff settings and was 3.3 nationally in 2016. In 2016, staff in mental health & learning disability trusts gave the best score of 3.4, whilst ambulance staff gave the lowest score of 3.1.

Updated April 2017.

Percentage of staff agreeing that their role makes a difference to patients / service users

Staff were asked whether or not they felt that their role makes a difference to patients or service users. Since the question was first asked in 2008, 90% of staff respondents felt they made a difference. Generally, there has been little variation, except for staff in ambulance trusts, whose scores fell 5 percentage points (from 90% to 85%) between 2008 and 2014. This could be due to ambulance staff not always being aware of the outcomes for patients they treat.

The weighted scores from 2015 onwards cannot be directly compared to the unweighted scores for 2008 to 2014. In 2016, staff in both ambulance (81%) and mental health and learning disability (81%) had the lowest percentage of staff feeling that their job made a difference to patients.

Updated April 2017.

About this data

For more information, please see NHS Staff Survey 2016.

National averages include other organisations outside of the sectors shown in the charts, for example PCTs and CCGs. In 2015 extra categories were created for acute trusts and mental health & learning disability trusts that are combined community trusts. Where these trusts were previously coded as either acute trusts or mental health & learning disability trusts the analysis included them in the categories they were previously in.

In 2015, the format of these questions was changed, placing "not applicable" as the first rather than the last response option, making it more noticeable.


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