Half of NHS workers have warned that trusts are understaffed and feel they lack sufficient time to do their jobs properly, a survey has revealed.
The 2009 NHS staff survey of 159,500 workers also showed the level of staff-on-staff violence has failed to improve for the second year in a row.
The results, published today, found that 46% of workers felt they do not have enough time, and 45% claimed there are not enough staff to enable them to carry out their tasks.
About 2% of workers said they had experienced physical violence from other staff, the same as 2008.
However, nine in 10 (90%) employees felt they were making a difference to patients.
Staff job satisfaction has also never been higher (3.5 on a scale of 1-5), and findings showed strong levels of engagement with their jobs (3.84 on a scale of 1-5).
Clare Chapman, director general for workforce at the Department of Health, said: “Patients can be confident they are getting a better deal from staff.
“I am delighted to see improvements to the highest ever level in so many areas. Staff are reporting better experience with appraisal, support from their managers and with the quality of care they are able to deliver.”
However, many staff feel excluded from decision-making, and there is a strong view that senior managers do not act on feedback. Overall, less than a third were satisfied with the extent to which their trust values their work.
Just under half (44%) of workers said their trust was committed to helping staff balance work and home life, and 15% said they would not recommend the trust as a place to work, the same as 2008. The number of staff reporting to have suffered from work-related stress remained unchanged from the previous year at 28%, although this is less than 2007 (33%).
The results also showed one in six employees (17%) had experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from either their line manager or other colleagues, similar to previous years (18% in 2007 and 2008).
Eleven per cent of NHS staff reported experiencing physical violence from patients in the previous 12 months, a figure relatively unchanged from previous years (13% in 2007).
Nearly three-quarters (71%) of incidents of physical violence and more than half (53%) of bullying, harassment or abuse cases were reported.
Health minister Ann Keen said: “While any level of physical violence, bullying or harassment of staff by patients or the public is unacceptable, I am encouraged that the levels reported are the lowest they have ever been. It is evidence of commitments nationally and locally to support staff, and shows progress can and is being made.”