Health and social care staff experience survey 2022

Independent report by Webropol providing detailed information and analysis of staff experience in health and social care across Scotland during 2022


Questions were first asked about change that staff had experienced in the circa 6 months prior to completing the survey in the 2020 Everyone Matters Pulse Survey (EMPS). The questions were asked in recognition of huge impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on both professional and personal lives. As that change is still ongoing for many, the questions were asked again in iMatter 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, there has been a considerable reduction in the proportion of staff who have experienced change either in their job role or their working environment. For the first time since the question was introduced a greater proportion of staff have not experienced change (57%) than have (41%).

Since last September, have you experienced change either in your job role or the environment you work in? EMPS 2020 iMatter 2021 iMatter 2022
Experienced Change 74% 63% 41%
Did not Experience Change 22% 35% 57%
No answer given 4% 3% 2%

The demographic profile of those experiencing change in terms gender, marriage/civil partnership status, sexual orientation, disability or age is very similar to that of those who have not experienced change.


1. Whilst generally comparisons are not made in this report to EMPS 2020, the information on change is provided to give an indication of the progression that has been made since Autumn 2020.

It is important to note that whilst comparative data is shown in this section, the time periods staff were asked to consider varied each year:

  • For EMPS 2020 the time period was typically 6 months (from the start of the pandemic in March to the survey in September)
  • For iMatter 2021 the time period was longer for most staff (from September 2020 to the time of completing the survey up to September 2021)
  • For iMatter 2022 the time period was typically around 9 to 10 months (from September 2010 to the time of completing the survey up to early August 2022)

This may lead to variations in some data. For example, the proportion experiencing a life event will be likely to vary as a direct result of the different time frames referenced.

2. In EMPS 2020 the nature of change experienced was reported as a percentage of those who experienced change. In order to enable comparison to be made with iMatter 2021, those percentages have been recalculated to be shown as a percentage of all staff taking part in EMPS 2020.

47% of Local Authority staff and 41% of NHSScotland staff (among those who answered both the staff grouping and change questions) have experienced change since September 2021.

NHSScotland staff working in Ambulance Services are the most likely to have experienced change and Medical and Dental the least likely.

NHSScotland Employees Experienced Change
Administrative Services 40%
Allied Health Profession 41%
Ambulance Services 49%
Health Science Services 32%
Medical and Dental 30%
Medical and Dental Support 38%
Nursing and Midwifery 45%
Other Therapeutic 37%
Personal and Social Care 43%
Senior Managers 41%
Support Services 40%

See Appendix 10 for further details. Among Local Authority staff, those who work in Adult Services are the most likely to have experienced change and Business Services the least.

Local Authority Employees Experienced Change
Adult Services 50%
Business Services 39%
Children’s Services 43%
Criminal Justice 41%
Older People Services 48%
Senior Managers 40%
Strategic Development 45%
Experienced Change
Have Disabilities 54%
Deafness/partial hearing loss 49%
Blindness or partial sight loss 52%
Full or partial loss of voice or difficulty speaking 54%
Learning disability 49%
Learning difficulty 51%
Developmental disorder 48%
Physical disability 58%
Mental health condition 56%
Long-term illness, disease or condition 50%
Other condition 52%

Overall, there is little difference across the various staff demographic groups. The exception is among those who have disabilities, among whom 54% have experienced change compared to 41% of those without disabilities. This rises to 58% of those with physical disabilities and 56% of those with mental health conditions.

Change in Work Circumstances

There has been a steep change in working practices with far less staff saying they are working from home more than usual. During EMPS 2020 almost a third of staff said they were working from home more (31%). This reduced to a quarter of staff (25%) in iMatter 2021 and is now less than one in ten staff (9%).

This may be a combination of both a return to the workplace for many staff and permanent changes to working practices that mean working partly or fully from home is now the normal working arrangement.

Changes in Work Circumstances Experienced EMPS 2020 iMatter 2021 iMatter 2022
Working at a different location (e.g. different hospital, care home etc.) 16% 15% 10%
Working from home more than usual 31% 25% 9%
Reassigned to a different team 11% 10% 7%
Reassigned to a different role, but still in the same team 10% 9% 7%
Reassigned to a different Directorate 1% 2% 1%
Reassigned to a different Board 1% 1% 1%

The nature of work done by a team will impact the extent to which working from home is an option, meaning that it may be the whole team works remotely. This can lead to challenges around staff feeling connected that need to be addressed. This Team Story from NHS Dumfries & Galloway illustrates the actions of one team.

Workforce Directorate Muddling Together!

“As we have primarily been working from home more the Workforce Directorate wanted to ensure we were still able to stay connected and so introduced monthly virtual Muddles.

Muddles (A cross between a Huddle and a Meeting!) take place on teams each month, all staff are invited and attend when they can. The idea is each team has the chance to share a short presentation/poster/update about what the team are working on, any success stories and or key projects. This helps us stay connected, sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences making the most of our resource when we aren't able to see each other face to face in the Workforce Corridor.”

iMatter NHS DG Workforce Directorate (1)

19% of NHSScotland Senior Managers taking part in iMatter say they are working from home more, compared to only 2% of Support Service staff. Among Local Authority staff those working in Strategic Development (21%) are most likely to be working from home more, followed by Criminal Justice staff (20%).

Allied Health Profession (15%) and Other Therapeutic (14%) are the NHSScotland Staff Groupings most likely to be working from a different location. 12% of Ambulance Services staff have been reassigned to a different role within the same team. Adult Services (12%) and Older People Services (10%) are the Local Authority Staff Groupings most often working from a different location.

Change in Personal Circumstances

Again, there is a general decline in the level of personal change experienced. In particular, as shielding has ended and schools are open again, there is a reduction in changes around caring responsibilities.

The point of note here is the considerable increase in the proportion of staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 since September 2021.

Changes in Personal Circumstances Experienced EMPS 2020 iMatter 2021 iMatter 2022
I have tested positive for COVID-19 1% 7% 16%
I have experienced physical or mental ill health (non-COVID-19) 11% 13% 8%
Loss of a friend or relative 10% 11% 7%
Providing support for vulnerable relative (living elsewhere) 19% 13% 6%
Worsening of financial situation (e.g. household member job loss or reduced hours) 9% 6% 5%
Care responsibilities for another member of the household 7% 6% 3%
School age children at home 17% 13% 3%
Preschool children at home 6% 4% 2%
Other household members furloughed 11% 7% 2%
Shielding at home (because I or other household members are clinically vulnerable) 4% 3% 1%
Staying away from home to protect my family 2% 1% <1%

The incidence of personal changes across the NHSScotland and Local Authority Staff Groupings are quite consistent. Where differences exist, they may be influenced by the demographic profile of each Staff Grouping. The notable exceptions to this is ‘experiencing mental or physical health problems (other than COVID-19)’ with 12% of Ambulance Service staff and 10% of Local Authority Strategic Development staff experiencing ill health. The incidence of positive COVID-19 tests is highest among Ambulance Services staff and those working in Nursing and Midwifery.

20% of NHSScotland staff taking part in iMatter say they are working from home more than usual compared to 32% of Local Authority staff. Among NHSScotland staff 34% of Senior Managers and 28% of those working in Administrative Services are working from home more than usual. Among Local Authority staff 44% of Business services and Criminal Justice staff are working from home more than usual.

7,163 staff, 6% of those completing the iMatter survey, said they had experienced ‘Other’ change, that is, something that they felt was not covered by the options provided within the questionnaire.

Changes mentioned that do not fit into the options in the questionnaire include:

  • Promotion to a new job or newly qualified, completion of training, graduating etc.
  • Changes in job hours; switching to part-time or increasing hours
  • Switch to permanent contract
  • Management/supervisor changes, new team leaders
  • Staff shortages, increased workload
  • New to the organisation

Change Summary

The overall level of change being experienced by staff has declined from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be because life is returning to pre-pandemic norms, both in the workplace and for staff personally. It may also be because change experienced during the pandemic has now been adopted as the ‘new normal’. For example, working from home more may no longer be considered a change as it has become a part of normal working life for some staff.



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