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Staff morale has improved across the NHS but too many still experience unacceptable abuse from patients and the public, according to the latest NHS Staff Survey.

The 2019 survey results, published on Tuesday, show that the NHS staff are happier compared to previous years, and more likely to recommend their organisation as a place to work.

Staff reported an improvement in the quality of care in the NHS over the last year, with more than seven in 10 are confident to recommend their organisation to their family and friends for treatment, a proportion that has increased every year for the past five years.

A total of 569,000 NHS employees across 300 separate organisations responded to this year’s Staff Survey in which over four-fifth said they are happy with the quality of care they give to patients.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “It’s welcome news that according to over half a million NHS employees, staff morale is now improving, and patient safety scores are now at a five year high.

“While teams across the country are under real pressure, NHS staff consistently go the extra mile for patients. So as a country we need to show the same commitment to them, which is why we are determined to clamp down on abuse and aggression in all its forms.”

Staff also reported that managers are encouraging them at work, strains on working relationship have reduced, and they are less likely to want to leave their organisation compared to 2018.

However, over one in four said they have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public while almost one in seven experienced physical violence.

Almost 40,000 respondents said they faced discrimination from patients over the last year, an increase of 5.8 per cent than in 2015.

The most common form of discrimination is racism, but 2019 also saw the highest levels of reported sexism and intolerance to religion and sexuality.

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer for the NHSn said: “It is not acceptable that our NHS people experience any form of discrimination from patients or the public at work. Our People Plan will set out what colleagues can expect from the NHS as a modern employer.”

Commenting on the survey results, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “The scale of the challenge to support NHS staff is substantial but it’s heartening to see that some progress is being made.

“The continuous and relentless pressure experienced by frontline staff means it’s vital the focus is ramped up on recruitment and retention to ease the load on existing teams and to keep the excellent staff we already have. It underlines the need for a strategic approach to supporting the workforce which we hope to see published soon in the long-anticipated NHS People Plan.”

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