Staff survey and performance figures “stark illustration” of backdrop to strikes

Staff survey and performance figures “stark illustration” of backdrop to strikes

Press release

Published: 09/03/2023

Responding to the NHS staff survey and new NHS performance figures, Dr Billy Palmer, Senior Fellow at the Nuffield Trust said:

“Today’s figures starkly illustrate the backdrop to continued industrial unrest across the NHS. Satisfaction with pay has plummeted, particularly among junior doctors, where numbers satisfied have halved in a single year. Across the board, the proportion of staff who are happy with their pay is now over 12 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic.

“This is not a surprise – our analysis has shown that even before this year’s pay deal, earnings had not kept pace with inflation for over a decade , with average nurse salaries falling 5.9% in real terms since 2010 and typical salaries for all junior doctors falling by 7.9%.

“While the staff survey has shown some welcome improvements in some wellbeing measures, too many staff are feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress (45% in the last 12 months), are burnt out (34%) and are coming to work despite feeling unwell (57% in the last three months). The results for ambulance staff are especially concerning, with half (49%) of ambulance staff experiencing burnout.

“The performance figures published today show that many of the problems facing the service have not eased since NHS staff were surveyed. With 7.2 million people waiting for routine care, little recent progress towards the NHS’s target to eliminate 18-month waits, and a deeply concerning jump of 7 percentage points in people waiting over two months to begin cancer treatment in January, NHS staff are going to be facing immense pressure at work for years to come.

“The concerning consequence of the unrelenting pressure on the NHS is that patient safety is being compromised. With a third of staff reporting they have seen errors, near misses or incidents in the last month that could have hurt staff and/or patients, these are worrying times for all of us.”

Notes to editors

  1. NHS England’s annual Staff Survey for 2022 is available here, with results at both national and local levels. It was conducted by the Picker Institute. All NHS employees are invited to take part and over 600,000 responded during a survey period which ran from September and December last year.
  2. NHS England performance data was published today for planned care up to January 2023, and urgent care up to February 2023. Data in the different work areas can be seen here.
  3. The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate. For all queries, or to arrange an interview, contact