NHS staff morale hits ‘rock bottom’, as confidence in Jeremy Hunt plummets

Morale among NHS staff has hit "rock bottom", with less than 1 in 4 saying they would recommend it as a great place to work.

Morale among civil servants working at the Department of Health has hit “rock bottom”, with only 24% saying they would recommend the department as a great place to work, down from 44% a year ago.

Only 41% felt confident to tell others where they work, down from 56% in 2016. And only 25% felt inspired by the work they do, compared to 40% last year.

The damning findings, first revealed by the Politics Home website, represent a severe embarrassment for Jeremy Hunt, whose management of the NHS has seen a succession of strikes by doctors and nurses, battles with health unions, and whom is also widely regarded as one of the worst to hold the position of Health Secretary for many years.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP. Photo credit: Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP at DPA 2011 via photopin (license)

The struggling department now has the lowest confidence and happiness ratings of any Whitehall department, despite Government promises of additional NHS funding.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “We already know morale has plummeted amongst NHS staff under this government, and now we learn morale is at rock bottom in Jeremy Hunt’s Department of Health too.

“It’s shocking that on every measure of staff satisfaction the Department of Health has gone down, and had the worst engagement of all departments in the survey.

“I have tremendous praise for civil servants, who I know work hard to deliver for the country. Sadly Theresa May has no interest in the NHS and is determined to continue the policy of underfunding. I can only therefore hope civil service morale doesn’t worsen in 2017.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health admitted the findings were “disappointing”, but added “the survey coincided with a significant restructure and consequently an unsettling time for staff”.

They added: “Our priority now is to act swiftly on feedback and continue to engage with staff.”