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Public satisfaction with the NHS is said to be at its lowest since 1997 and the figures do not make much better reading among those working in the health service.

The latest NHS staff survey results revealed respondents were less likely to recommend their organisations as places to work than they did in previous years.

It also showed a decline in the percentage of staff who felt their employer acted fairly with regards to career progression or promotion, regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age.

The survey was conducted between September and December 2021, with daily covid hospital admissions sometimes averaging close to 10,000.

A significant drop-off was seen in morale as only 59.4 per cent of respondents said they would recommend their organisation as a place to work.

That dropped off from 66.8 per cent in 2020 and represented a five-year low.

The sharpest decline was seen in the proportion of respondents who felt there were enough staff in their organisation to carry out their job properly.

This declined to 27.2 per cent in 2021, from 38.4 per cent in 2020, and was seen more acutely among ambulance trusts.

Another bruising week for the health service.

Parking policy in reverse

Free parking at all hours for NHS staff is to end, the government confirmed, as it laid out its plans to live with covid.

Ministers had previously committed to maintaining central funding for the policy over “the duration of the pandemic” but the Department of Health & Social Care said on Tuesday night “we rightly provided… free hospital car parking during the height of this unprecedented pandemic”.

Some trusts have already begun reintroducing fees to park while others could choose to meet the cost out of their own pockets, while a Conservative manifesto commitment to fund free parking for frequent outpatient appointment attenders and staff on night shifts still stands.

The announcement was criticised by Unison, which pointed to the cost of living crisis already facing health service employees staff and said this was “no way for the NHS to hang on to staff in the current job market”.

Also on today

In Recovery Watch, James Illman looks at the 12-hour waiting time standard and reveals his least favourite three-word phrase, and in a comment piece, Sarah Woolnough explains what she thinks must be done to regain progress on reducing smoking during pregnancy.