The results of this year’s staff survey give managers - and the rest of the NHS - much to feel proud of and some obvious areas for improvement.

NHS employees report feeling less stressed, fewer of them say they are bullied, harassed or abused by patients and the vast majority are satisfied with the care they provide to patients.

Improved scores in 18 out of 26 directly comparable areas is pretty impressive by anyone’s standards - not least in one of the largest staff surveys in the world.

Many of the messages that ministers, the Department of Health and individual NHS organisations have been working so hard to promote have evidently got through. Reporting of errors and patient safety incidents has gone up, as has the number of staff who are trained in infection control and always have hand washing materials available to them.

But the picture is not all rosy. The staff survey found no improvement in the number of staff who feel they are discriminated against because of their ethnic background.

This in the same week that a separate Healthcare Commission report on race equality found the Department of Health and trusts have a lot further to go to secure race equality.

For managers, the central message from the staff survey is the need to improve communication. Fewer than half those asked said their trust communicates clearly what it is trying to achieve. Just over half said they understood the national vision for the NHS and know how their organisation contributes to this.

This is not just about talking to staff more. The Healthcare Commission rightly draws a distinction between informing staff and involving them. The emphasis that Lord Darzi placed on the importance of consulting with staff - and with patients - must not be allowed to slip away.

The Department of Health and senior managers must both take responsibility if, as Managers in Partnership suggests, the centre is placing so many demands on leaders that they don’t have time to spend with their own staff.

It’s not just a matter of “look out, not up”, but of making time to “look in, not up” too.