• More than a fifth report being bullied, harassed or abused at least once in the past 12 months, a small drop from the 2016 survey
  • 39 per cent agreed poor performance was dealt with effectively
  • Several improvements on the 2016 staff survey, including staff recommending NHS England as a place to work
  • 48 per cent agreed “overall I have confidence in the leadership of NHS England” while 21 per cent disagreed

More than one in five NHS England staff said they had been bullied, harassed or abused in the past year in its latest staff survey, which also shows improvements in several areas.

The overall scores of the NHS England Census 2017 survey, distributed internally in recent weeks, have been leaked to HSJ.

Several scores were improved on the 2016 NHS England Staff Survey, for example 62 per cent said they would recommend NHS England as a place to work – up from 58 per cent in the previous survey.

Twenty-three per cent said they had been bullied, harassed or abused at least once in the past 12 months – down from 24 per cent in the 2016 survey, according to the results documents for 2017 and 2016 seen by HSJ.

It is lower than the 27 per cent who reported bullying or harassment in response to a similar question in the 2017 survey of staff in the NHS locally.

However, asked who they were bullied or harassed by, 28 per cent of NHS England staff who answered said their direct supervisor or line manager, 24 per cent another manager within their own team, and 16 per cent a manager from another team.

In the 2017 NHS staff survey, published last week, just 12 per cent reported experiencing bullying or harassment by managers at least once.

The NHS England 2017 survey found 59 per cent said they felt able to report bullying and harassment - up from 58 per cent in the 2016 figures.

Only 38 per cent agreed “poor performance within their team is dealt with effectively”, in one of the lowest results in the 2017 survey, up from 34 per cent in the 2016 staff survey.

For most questions, respondents who did not answer positively, ie that they “agree” with a given statement, are divided between those saying they “disagree” with it, and those who say they “neither” agree nor disagree - a breakdown not generally reported in staff survey summary results in the past nor in internal reports on the NHS England results this year.

The NHS England 2017 results show less than half of staff – 48 per cent – agreed that “overall I have confidence in the leadership of NHS England”. However, only 21 per cent disagreed with the statement, while while 30 per cent said they “neither” agreed nor disagreed.

Fifty-three per cent agreed “senior management provide effective leadership”.

Figures for the previous year are not available, but HSJ revealed last year that the 2016 survey found just 41 per cent said NHS England’s leaders made decisions consistent with the organisation’s values.

There are not comparable questions in the NHS staff survey, but last year HSJ found the Department of Health and other national bodies had similarly poor perceptions about senior leaders. In the NHS Improvement 2016 survey, 32 per cent agreed that “senior leaders provide a clear vision of the overall direction of NHS Improvement”.

Last year’s results were released to HSJ only after a five-month freedom of information wrangle, with intervention by the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, NHS England has said that this year it intends to publish overall results on its website soon.

Other results in the survey include:

  • The overall engagement score was 76 per cent. NHS England said this was up 13 points in three years.
  • 54 per cent said NHS England acts fairly with regards to career progression or promotion, regardless of regardless of ethnic background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age. Fourteen per cent answered no to this question. The remainder said they don’t know.
  • 41 per cent said they were involved in contributing to decisions and changes introduced that affect their team, region or directorate, up from 37 per cent.
  • 48 per cent believe action will be taken on areas of concern identified in the survey, up from 45 per cent.

Updated 14 March 5.30pm: We made small changes to some figures to reflect full results of the 2017 survey published this afternoon by NHS England. No figures have changed by more than 1 percentage point. There were discrepancies due to rounding/addition in the information leaked to HSJ.