THE NHS could learn a thing or two from a Teesside mental health trust when it comes to boosting staff morale, according to a new report.

The Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) has praised the high staff morale among workers employed by the Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust.

In a routine review of the trust's clinical governance arrangements, CHI also highlighted a number of areas of good practice.

The trust is a specialist mental health and learning disability trust, which includes St Luke's Hospital and the Carter Bequest Hospital, in Middlesbrough, East Cleve- land Hospital, in Saltburn, Guisborough General Hospital and Stead Memorial Hospital, in Redcar.

The CHI report, published yesterday, said: "CHI found the level of staff morale throughout the trust to be very high. Even in remote areas of the trust, where isolation could potentially be an issue, staff enjoy their work and feel well supported."

CHI was particularly impressed by staff who were "welcoming" and "friendly". Areas of good practice highlighted by CHI included the young onset dementia team, and a nursing care pilot which encourages patients to get involved in planning their own care.

The trust, which was named regional employer of the year in 2001, is to give all staff an extra day's holiday in recognition of the positive report