65% of NHS staff attended work when ill


Around two-thirds (65%) of NHS staff attended work in the previous three months despite not feeling well enough to perform their role, according to research by the NHS.

However, this is a decrease from the 68% that said the same in 2013.

The 2014 NHS staff survey, which surveyed 255,000 NHS employees, also found that of the 65% who attended work when ill, 91% had put themselves under pressure to do so, 30% felt pressure from their manager, down from 32% in 2013, and 23% felt pressure from their colleagues.

The study also found:

  • 39% of respondents reported feeling unwell in the last year due to work-related stress, the same as in 2013.
  • Around a third (31%) felt their line managers involved staff in important decisions, 37% felt communication between managers and staff was effective, and 29% cited that senior managers acted on employee feedback.
  • More than half (56%) of respondents would recommend their organisation as a place to work, down from 58% in 2013.
  • More than half (52%) often or always look forward to going to work.
  • 41% are satisfied with the extent to which they feel their employer values their work. 
  • A third (33%) of respondents are satisfied with their pay, which is a decrease the 38% that said the same in 2013.
  • More than half (56%) feel their manager takes a positive interest in their wellbeing and health, the same as in 2013, however, 43% felt that their organisation takes positive action with these issues.

Dr Zofia Bajorek, a researcher at The Work Foundation, said: “Although these results do suggest improvement in staff morale and satisfaction across the NHS, some results indicate that this may not possibly be the whole picture. 

“For example, only 29% of staff feel that there are enough staff to enable them to do their jobs properly, which could highlight that staff may feel under pressure, and stressed. 

“With regards to staff health and wellbeing figures, these suggest a lack of awareness both of the costs of ill-health, in terms of finance and productivity, and the benefits of investing in better staff health and wellbeing support.  

“There are also some concerning statistics regarding the level of presenteeism among NHS staff. Although this has dropped since 2013, attending work when unwell not only increases the risks of transferring any virus to patients, but also reduces the individual’s productivity, and could lead to increased stress for other team members who may have to increase their workload to compensate.”