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Survey: Nurses' wellbeing still needs more attention

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The NHS is still failing to attach enough importance to the health and wellbeing of its nursing workforce, but the picture is improving, according to results from our latest annual survey.

It is now five years since the Boorman Review concluded there was a “strong case” for investing in NHS staff health and wellbeing.

But nearly two-thirds, 60%, of the nearly 750 survey respondents said their employer did not attach a high enough priority to staff health and wellbeing.

However, this year’s results do represent an improvement on last year, when 73% of respondents to our 2013 survey said their employer did not attach sufficient priority to staff wellbeing.

More than half of respondents, 54%, said they were unhappy with their work-life balance, compared to 63% last year. However, only around a third, 39%, thought they had the time and facilities at work to eat a healthy, balanced diet.


Our survey – as in previous years – also asked readers about their views on exercise and weight.

There was a slight increase in those who considered themselves to be very overweight, from 8% last year to 11% this year, while 46% in 2014 thought they were overweight compared to 48% in 2013.

Our findings on exercise largely mirrored last year’s, with 5% of respondents saying they did muscle-strengthening and/or moderate/vigorous aerobic activity that raises your heart rate on a daily basis.

A quarter, 25%, did so once or twice a week and 16% three or more times a week. This compared with 27% who rarely or never did so, and a similar percentage said they did these types of exercise less than weekly.

This year we also included questions on alcohol consumption and smoking. The majority, 88%, said they did not smoke, while 10% said they smoked tobacco products and 2% used e-cigarettes.

Alcohol consumption was generally lower among respondents than the popular perception of hard-boozing NHS staff suggests.

For example, among women 40% of women said the consumed only one to seven units a week and 37% of men between one and 10, while 30% of both men and women did not drink at all.

At the other end of the scale, only around 5% of women admitted to drinking more than 25 units a week and 4% of men drank over 31 units.


1. Are you happy with your work-life balance? 
No  54.32%


2. Does your employer attach a high enough priority to staff health and wellbeing? 
Don’t know   12.38%
Not applicable  1.48%


3. Have you taken more or less sick leave in the past 12 months than you would normally take? 
Significantly more     11.77%
A bit more   16.24%
No change54.94%
A bit less     6.09%
Significantly less  10.96%


4. Have you felt under pressure from your organisation to come to work when you were feeling unwell this year? 
Yes   52.09%
No   41.32%
Unsure  6.59%


5. If a colleague is off sick are their shifts covered: 
Always   5.42%
Most of the time      21.41%
Never  17.89%


6. Do you regularly work more than your allotted hours? 
Yes, by 1-5 hours per week    44.11%
Yes, by 6-10 hours per week21.79%
Yes, by 10-15 hours per week  8.39%
Yes 15+ hours per week5.14%
No, I usually work my allotted hours   17.59%
No, I always work my allotted hours  2.98%


7. Are you working noticeably longer hours than this time last year? 
Yes, more   41.06%
No, about the same  54.88%
No, less      4.07%


8. Have you found you have suffered the side-effects of work-related stress, such as physical or mental health problems in the past year? 
Yes  63.55%
No   36.45%


9. Do you have time and facilities at work to eat a healthy, balanced diet? 
Yes  38.78%
No    61.22%


10. Do you consider yourself to be: 
Very overweight     10.90%
Overweight     46.16%
About right      39.97%
Underweight    2.96%


11. Do you do muscle-strengthening and/or moderate/vigorous aerobic activity that raises your heart rate: 
Daily     4.70%
Three or more times a week   16.11%
Once or twice a week  24.70%
Less than weekly26.98%
Rarely/never   27.52%


12. Do you smoke? 
Yes, cigarettes or similar tobacco products       10.23%
Yes, e-cigarettes        1.75%
No, I gave up recently   2.96%
No, I gave up ages ago  27.05%
No, I’ve never smoked58.01%


13. If you are male, how many units of alcohol do you drink per week? 
So many I’ve lost count   2.63%
11-21    14.04%
1-10   38.60%
None, I don’t drink    37.72%


14. If you are female, how many units of alcohol do you drink per week? 
So many I’ve lost count   1.06%
25+  3.47%
15-24    8.46%
8-14   16.92%
1-7   39.73%
None, I don’t drink         30.36%
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