Fall in staff morale a real cause for concern

Matthew Taylor responds to the latest NHS staff survey results.

30 March 2022

Responding to the results of the annual NHS staff survey, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“The overall picture does not come as a surprise given the unprecedented pressure placed on the NHS and its staff working through a pandemic with very little respite for over two years. 
“The fall in staff morale is a real cause for concern, in particular in the numbers of staff who are considering leaving the workforce which has risen to just under a third (31%) since last year.  There has also been a noticeable drop in the number of staff recommending the NHS as a place to work. 
“There are also significant areas of concern especially around the health and well-being of staff and NHS leaders are very aware that more can be done in this area.  
“However, it is heartening to see that most staff did note the positive actions being taken on health and well-being by their employers and that in the main they reported feeling supported by their line manager. 
“NHS leaders know only too well the relentless demand being placed on their teams due to the staffing vacancies which now stand at 110,000.
“There is no hiding from the fact that the NHS is facing chronic workforce shortages, which are getting steadily worse, and with nearly three quarters of staff reporting that there are not enough staff to do their jobs properly.  
“Whilst our dedicated staff continue to work flat out, the Government cannot simply keep demanding even more from the service without ensuring the NHS has the tools it needs to do the job and one of the most vitally important tools is a fully funded and fully staffed workforce. Our staff are the lifeblood of the health service, and we need them now more than ever.
“It’s high time for the Government to grasp the opportunity now presented through the Health and Care Bill workforce amendment and commit to setting out full and transparent staffing requirements for the NHS at regular intervals.  Not doing so is a lost opportunity and will only serve to heighten staff shortages and jeopardise the inroads the health service can make into driving down patient waiting lists.”