By Max Clarke

There has been continuing progress recorded in a number of areas of the 2010 annual NHS staff survey, Health Minister Simon Burns announced today.

The survey results published today by the Care Quality Commission will help NHS trusts to improve staff experience and local engagement. This will in turn help improve the care delivered to patients.

Record high levels of staff job satisfaction in the NHS; reduction of potentially harmful errors that could hurt staff or patients; and continuing high ratings on the promotion of infection control are among the improvements revealed by the new survey.

Public sector union UNISON, however, warn that any improvements made risk being 'wiped out' if the government presses on with its privatisation and restructuring plans.

Health Minister Simon Burns said:

"The survey shows that NHS organisations are continuing to make improvements for their staff in many areas. This is vital to the delivery of our overriding goal for a modern NHS — to give more control to front line staff to produce high quality care and improved health outcomes for patients that are among the best in the world.

“There is a very real danger," UNISON Deneral Secretary Dave Prentis said, "that any improvements will be short lived and wiped out very quickly. We are getting different messages now from our members. They tell us that they are very worried about the impact of the job cuts on the quality of patient care. In addition, we know that most NHS staff are against the Health and Social Care Bill, which will cause massive upheaval."

Continued Minister Burns: “More staff are happy with the standard of care at their hospital if a friend or family member needed treatment. Our plans will allow front line staff to improve on this further and that will give real assurance to patients that our changes for a modern NHS are for the better.

“Supporting and engaging with staff is absolutely critical if we are to deliver better outcomes, patient satisfaction and more effective use of resources.”

Clare Chapman, Director of NHS Workforce, said:

“For the third year in a row, real improvements are being made in many areas for the NHS workforce — the number of staff who would recommend their trust for treatment has risen and job satisfaction has never been higher.

“The survey shows that staff are getting more support from their line managers, more and better appraisals, and more training in health and safety, which is at its highest ever level. Continuing to support staff over this coming year will be important as they work to deliver the changes that will make services more responsive to patients.

“It is unsurprising that the scores from staff in PCTs are lower in some areas than the average, as these organisations move towards abolition. But it is a credit to managers leading the transition that, at the same time, staff are reporting improved communication with senior managers and no decline in job satisfaction.

“NHS organisations must now use these results and look at where they can improve further.”