Investing in staff wellbeing and teamwork is "crucial" to raising the quality of patient care.
New research "strongly suggests" that levels of satisfaction and wellbeing among NHS staff has a direct impact on patients' experiences of healthcare.
It is claimed satisfied' NHS staff are "more likely" to give patients a better experience of healthcare.
The three-year study Exploring the relationship between patients' experiences of care and the influence of staff motivation, affect and wellbeing by researchers at the National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU) at King's College London involved over 200 hours of direct care observation, patient focus groups, interviews and surveys, as well as interviews with senior managers and frontline staff and a staff survey at four different trusts.
Professor Jill Maben, lead researcher and director of the NNRU, said there has been "limited" insight into the link between staff wellbeing and patient care to date.
"This study strongly suggests that patient experiences are better when staff feel they have a good working environment, support from co-workers and their manager and low emotional exhaustion," said Professor Maben.
"These findings are significant and demonstrate that staff wellbeing is an antecedent, not a consequence, of patient care performance. Thus seeking systematically to enhance staff wellbeing is not only important in its own right but also for the quality of patient experiences."
She said the investment of time and energy in team building is of "critical importance" for patient care delivery.
However, Professor Glenn Robert, chair in Healthcare Quality & Innovation at the NNRU, said staff often reported not being able to deliver the care they wanted to, citing "insufficient" staffing levels and "competing demands" on their time as preventing them from delivering the high quality care they wished to give.