Independent report

Improving NHS staff engagement

How to improve NHS care by engaging staff and devolving decision-making


Improving NHS staff engagement


This report details the conclusions of the review of staff engagement and empowerment in the NHS, commissioned by Care Minister Norman Lamb and Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude. The review was chaired by Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, and supported by a panel of 17 experts.

The review found strong evidence that NHS organisations with high levels of staff engagement – where staff are strongly committed to their work and involved in decision-making – deliver better quality care.

These organisations report:

  • lower mortality rates
  • better patient experience
  • lower rates of sickness absence
  • lower rates of staff turnover

The report calls on all NHS organisations to make staff engagement a priority in order to improve care.

The review found evidence that staff-led ‘mutual’ organisations deliver higher levels of staff engagement. As a result, it recommended that the government supports a pathfinder programme to help NHS trusts and foundation trusts explore the benefits of the mutual model.

In response to the review’s recommendation, the Department of Health and Cabinet Office have set up a joint project to support health and care organisations explore the potential advantages of making their services mutual.

Published 15 July 2014