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NHS staff appreciate managers more, finds survey

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Over the past year, NHS staff say they have received improved support from line managers and improved appraisals, leading to better patient care, according to a staff survey.

The survey, published yesterday, polled 165,000 employees in the health service across the UK and found the percentage of staff that were appraised in the past year rose to 77%, an increase of 8% on 2009. The average score given by staff to rate their support from immediate managers increased from 3.63 to 3.65 out of five and job satisfaction increased from 3.50 to 3.51.

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said: "Employers are working hard in partnership with their health unions and staff to continue improving the NHS in these challenging times and this year's NHS Staff Survey shows that these efforts are paying off.

"Employers have worked very hard to create a climate where staff feel confident reporting concerns and it is encouraging that staff find procedures for reporting concerns fairer and more effective.

"We are pleased with the survey's finding that over three-quarters of staff now receive appraisals and this is the highest ever. Existing research has confirmed the strong relationship between appraisals and a good standard of patient care.

"Staff feeling valued is fundamental to the effective delivery of care and we believe it is an important factor behind other encouraging survey results, such as the improved staff satisfaction.

Sue Covill, director of HR for South Tees Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added: "Listening to and acting on the views of our staff is very much core business at South Tees, which is why we take the staff survey extremely seriously. We use the information received to provide staff with detailed corporate improvement planning and we also use champions across the organisation to work with teams in their own particular areas. We monitor the progress of this work on a quarterly basis.

"By listening to and valuing our staff in this way, the business benefits from a motivated, productive and healthier workforce. This work has led to us introducing to our health and wellbeing arrangements a series of healthy heart checks for staff, so in a very real sense our workforce is a healthier, happier one."

Mark Preston, associate director of HR for King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "King's College Hospital values the data collected from the staff survey to support effective action planning in areas highlighted by the survey.

"One of the key Trust initiatives to have evolved from the results was the development of the "trust values". These values have now been successfully embedded across the organisation. This is a significant initiative which has allowed the organisation, its patients and employees to develop and feel supported within the Trust environment."

The 2010 survey covered all occupational groups, from doctors to nurses to clerical workers, and from radiographers to clinical psychologists across almost 165,000 NHS employees in 388 trusts. The Care Quality Commission carried out the survey during the final quarter of 2010/11.