Health secretary Andy Burnham has announced plans to publish data on staff satisfaction across the NHS.
In his first major public speech since his appointment in June, Burnham said there needed to be “a better focus on staff satisfaction” and that this could be achieved by “measuring staff satisfaction more systematically.”
Speaking at the King’s Fund he said: “By publishing comparative measures of staff satisfaction it will provide a helpful barometer and possible early warnings signs to where things are going wrong.
“It will encourage a more empowered and inclusive way of working where staff are truly engaged in the service.”
Burnham hinted that the information would be put on the NHS Choices website where information about patient satisfaction is already published. “We need to put staff satisfaction alongside patient satisfaction and look at the two together,” he said.
John Appleby, chief economist at the Kings Fund, responded: “The main thing that I would like to see back in the surveys is the question about how willing staff would be to be treated in their own hospital.”
The health secretary also confirmed plans reported in this morning’s newspapers to allow patients to choose their own GP practice, regardless of where they live.
He said: “Within the next 12 months, I want to abolish [practice boundaries] to allow people to register with the surgery of their choice. People need to select a GP based on their own needs not by lines on a map.”
Burnham also indicated that there may further changes to the way that provider organisations are paid.
He praised the Payments by Results initiative, but suggested clinicians should receive financial rewards or penalties based on feedback from people in their care.
He said: “Payments need to be linked to satisfaction and not just results. This will be a big cultural change for the NHS.”
His comments were immediately attacked by Unison, whose secretary Dave Prentis said Payment by Results should be abolished, along with the wider internal market in healthcare.
“It has led to a massive increase in bureaucracy and administration costs and would be an excellent target for making some of the efficiency savings that the government wants,” Prentis argued from the Trades Union Congress in Liverpool.
“It makes no sense to set hospital against hospital and for the focus to shift away from patient care and onto invoicing, coding and bill chasing. The sick should be treated as patients not cash units.”
Although Burnham did not discuss the budget or jobs cuts, he said that NHS reform could lead to “the most exciting decade for the NHS."