The Healthcare Commission is encouraging NHS employees to provide feedback on their experiences at work by participating in what is believed to be the largest survey of staff in the world.
In the fifth annual survey, more than 250,000 NHS staff will be asked their views. Between 600 and 850 staff at each NHS trust will be chosen randomly, and data will be collected between October and December.
The Healthcare Commission, the Department of Health and NHS Trusts use the information gathered in the survey to inform local and national changes in working conditions. The aim of this is to improve quality of care for patients.
Dr Jonathan Boyce, head of surveys at the Healthcare Commission, said: "We want to give a voice to NHS staff. We need to know their views on key issues such as safety, violence towards frontline workers and their experience of work-related stress.
"The annual staff survey is a vital tool in our efforts to improve the NHS for both patients and staff. This year we hope to have a record response rate. Staff attitudes, experiences and working environment naturally affect organisational outcomes – and in the NHS this includes the quality of care patients receive.
"Results from the survey are used by trusts to deliver local improvements in working conditions and practices. I hope that NHS staff will seize this opportunity to shape their own future."
The Commission encourages staff in all sectors and roles in the NHS to take the opportunity to give their views. In 2006, 2,795 managers, 8,123 doctors, 38,188 nurses, 13,355 allied health professionals (for example clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists), 3,794 ambulance staff and 5,875 ancillary staff took part in the survey.
The 2006 survey results identified improvements on safety and work-related stress, with but also highlighted concerns about levels of violence and abuse experienced by NHS staff. Thirty-one per cent of staff said they experienced violence and abuse in the previous year.
The Healthcare Commission will report on the findings of the 2007 NHS Staff Survey, including national trends early next year. The Commission will also use the survey data to assess trusts in the annual health check, which gives ratings to every NHS trust in England.