A new report by NHS Providers shows how Trusts are adapting and innovating to support their staff in the face of severe workforce pressures.
Providers Deliver: Recruiting, retaining and sustaining the NHS workforce offers a selection of successful approaches, bringing benefits for staff and patients. The report showcases innovative work by trusts to implement the NHS People Plan and improve staff experience, while dealing with a range of challenges including the continuing threat from COVID-19, severe pressures on urgent and emergency care and mental health services, and the need to address the care backlog. It also highlights the extraordinary hard work, commitment and resilience shown by the NHS workforce.
Key themes include new ways of working, race equality, speaking up culture, excellent management, staff empowerment, wellbeing, recruitment, retention and collaboration. The report includes a contribution from the NHS chief people officer, Prerana Issar, who says supporting colleagues to stay well – and stay in the NHS – has never been more important:
"I know that our shared goal is to attract people who want to join our NHS, support people to remain and develop in our NHS, and of course, facilitate high quality care for patients and local communities. I see and recognise the huge efforts that have been in service of this, with this report highlighting just some of the many innovations being made across the country."
The deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said: "Workforce remains the number one concern for NHS trust leaders – after all its staff are the basis of everything that the NHS does.
"It is paramount that key learnings, innovation, and outcomes are shared to ensure that best practice is adopted at this critical juncture, given ongoing operational pressures and upcoming legislative changes. It is crucial that NHS staff feel supported and heard in this process, and there needs to be understanding of what they're facing from both the public and policy makers.
"While the type of work detailed in these case studies goes a long way to improving staff experience in the NHS, huge workforce shortages and the resulting unsustainable workload on existing staff can only be tackled with a robust long term workforce plan. We continue to call for a national fully costed and funded, multi-year workforce plan, based on input from providers, as a matter of absolute priority. This has to come alongside increased longer-term investment in workforce expansion, education and training."