There has been a sharp decline in the number of NHS staff happy with the standard of care within their organisation, according to the UNISON 2022 staff survey released earlier this month. 

One of the most comprehensive surveys conducted of staff working in the NHS, the 2022 survey was filled in by 636,348 NHS staff in 264 NHS organisations, including nurses, porters, paramedics, cleaners, healthcare assistants, and many other staff vital for running the service.

Helga Pile, UNISON’s deputy head of health, said:

No one should be in any doubt as to the scale of the problems facing the NHS. Years of government neglect and underinvestment are to blame. Ministers have done nothing meaningful to stop the slide, despite repeated warnings.”

Staff told the survey that patient care is suffering due to staffing issues, with only 26% of staff saying that there are enough staff at their organisation for them to do their job properly and staff increasingly concerned at the level of care their employer provides. Only 63% are happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation, a five-year low and 5% below 2021.

Helga Pile noted:

The sharp decline in the number of staff happy with the standard of care at their organisation is alarming. The government’s failure to protect the NHS is letting down patients and putting them at risk.

And if staffing levels are poor now then the level of dissatisfaction with pay and conditions is likely to escalate the issue. The survey found that satisfaction with wages has hit a new low, with only 26% of staff content with their level of pay, 6% down from 2021. For ambulance staff, just 15.8% were satisfied and healthcare assistants just 13.3%.

The numbers of staff thinking about leaving is at a five year high, with almost a third (32%) of NHS staff saying they think often about leaving. Nearly a quarter (24%) of ambulance operations staff say they will leave as soon as they can find another job.

What is needed is “a comprehensive workforce plan, plus long-term investment in NHS pay, working conditions, training and apprenticeship places,” noted Helga Pile, with staff given “hope things will change.”


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