Nearly three-quarters of NHS workers in England are regularly doing overtime, much of it unpaid, according to the annual Healthcare Commission staff survey, published today.

57 per cent of acute trust staff and 59 per cent of primary care trust workers said they regularly worked unpaid overtime.

And staff reporting satisfaction with their jobs is on the slide across all types of trust compared to previous years. Just over two-thirds (68 per cent) of staff in acute trusts expressed satisfaction with their job, three-quarters of PCT staff were satisfied, and just over half (56 per cent) of ambulance trust staff were satisfied.

Among the more than 128,000 staff in 326 English trusts who gave their views in October 2006, large numbers are not receiving regular appraisal or performance development review. Most of those who do say they are not finding it helpful, with as few as 18 per cent of ambulance trust staff finding their appraisal helpful.

NHS Employers deputy director Alastair Henderson said his organisation was working to ensure 'annual well-structured appraisal' for all NHS staff. 'We need to work hard locally and nationally to make sure the NHS remains a place people want to work.'

Employers should be pleased with the reduction in both work-related stress and injuries, he added, down from 39 per cent in 2003 to 33 per cent, and 22 per cent to 17 per cent respectively.

The number of staff reporting violence or abuse from patients or their relatives, has remained steady at 31 per cent, compared with 30 per cent last year.

UNISON national secretary for health Karen Jennings said: 'NHS workers are seeing their pay packets and personal safety gradually deteriorate. Following today's report, it is even more important for the government to rethink its paltry annual pay award for our embattled health workers.'

Under half of staff (45 per cent) questioned said they believed patients were the top priority for their trust and only 39 per cent thought they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their trust if they were a patient.

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