NHS staff survey highlights difficulty of achieving '50,000 more nurses' pledge Health Foundation response to 2019 NHS Staff Survey

18 February 2020


    Commenting on today’s NHS Staff Survey Results, Hugh Alderwick, Assistant Director of Policy at the Health Foundation, said:

    ‘Today’s survey results show how difficult it will be to achieve the government’s promise of 50,000 more nurses. Delivering this pledge relies on supporting existing nurses to stay as well as encouraging new ones to join the NHS.

    ‘There has been welcome improvement on a range of fronts, such as staff recommending their organisation as a place to work and satisfaction with their pay. However, the findings suggest that there is still more work needed to make the NHS a better, more attractive place to work and build a career.

    ‘Rising numbers of staff are reporting illness as a result of work-related stress, and almost one in five say they have experienced bullying and harassment from their colleagues, with BAME and disabled staff members worse affected. The public relies on NHS staff for their health and wellbeing, so it’s only right that theirs is taken just as seriously.

    ‘With over 100,000 staff vacancies in NHS trusts and need for care continuing to rise, staff shortages are today the biggest threat to the future of the health service. We must now see a national strategy on the NHS workforce which has been promised but is long overdue.’

    Notes on the NHS staff survey results

    • 38.0% of staff were satisfied with their level of pay (increased from 36.3% in 2018) and the highest result over the past five years
    • 40.3% of staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress (increased from 39.8% in 2018) and the highest result over the past five years
    • 19.0% of staff experienced at least one incident of bullying, harassment or abuse in the last 12 months from other colleagues (BME staff: 23.2%, white staff: 17.9%, disabled staff: 26.4%, non-disabled staff: 17.2%)

    Media contact

    Simon Perry


    020 7257 2093

    Further reading

    Research report

    A critical moment

    February 2019

    Our third annual report analysing the staff profile and trends in the NHS workforce in England in...

    Research report

    Closing the gap

    March 2019

    Staffing is the make-or-break issue for the NHS in England. This report sets out a series of policy...

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