Retention of the NHS workforce is a long overdue focus and there is much to do, however we are pleased we are starting to see some early improvements – Professor Mark Radford RN, Director of Nursing – Improvement, NHS Improvement
19 months ago NHS Improvement was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health to launch a retention programme to support trusts in the retention of clinical staff and to share knowledge, tools and best practice across the sector.
Over the last 12 months period we have done exactly this. In the first instance, in partnership with NHS Employers we have led and delivered six retention masterclasses for over 500 participants from NHS providers. Through these, 110 NHS trusts (nearly 50% of all trusts) that were experiencing higher staff turnover rates received direct tailored support from us over a 90 day period. And where our cohorts are engaging fully with the programme staff turnover rates are going down. 71% of our nursing and mental health cohort 1 trusts (25 out of 35 trusts) have noted improvement in their staff turnover rates since starting the programme.
Our work with the trusts to support improvements in staff turnover rates has been published on the NHS Improvement hub website – Staff retention support programme: one year on. This shares our outcomes through the use of a direct support model and the provision of national learning resources available to support providers. We have since developed and secured funding for national roll out to all provider organisations.
In terms of early year career support and newly qualified nurses (NQNs), there is a high turnover (at a median of 24% in most places), and for some Trusts this is because staff are moving on for better opportunities. Sadly this is not always the case: the reality for some early years nurses is that they have a very poor experience. They are often not supported beyond the preceptorship period, which is of varying quality and then many NQNs are left to fend for themselves. NQNs are also looking for career support and mapping at 1, 2 and 5 year horizons and they want someone to help with this. We know that early years nurses will stay if they feel valued – we all need to work harder to do this, through career support, pastoral care and educational offer such as CPD.
For more information about our programme please email NHSI.Workforce@nhs.net , follow us on twitter @NHSImprovement #NHSRetention you can also contact us to suggest a retention resource you use or have developed via this link https://improvement.nhs.uk/account/suggest-resource/