Securing a sustainable NHS workforce for the future

We've launched a major new programme to improve staff retention in trusts across England and bring down the leaver rates in the NHS by 2020.

Nurses and all clinical staff are the backbone of the NHS and our retention programme will highlight why there's been an increase in staff choosing to leave and provide support to trusts so they can hold on to this expertise and experience.

The retention programme will be led by us, but will bring together support from our national partners to ensure a system-wide approach to securing and sustaining the future NHS workforce.

Support on offer to providers

Our programme will offer a wide range of support, including:

  • a series of masterclasses for directors of nursing and HR directors to discuss ways to improve retention
  • further work with NHS Employers to explore how we can help build on its current national retention programme
  • targeted support for all mental health providers to improve the retention rates of all staff groups within these trusts
  • piloting and rollout of a tool designed to help trusts understand why staff leave and a tool for analysing staff survey results
  • guidance and webinars on how to improve retention rates

Targeted, clinically-led support

The retention programme will also feature an intensive support package. This is clinically-led support targeted at providers with the above average leaver rates for nurses.

We'll start with two groups of 20 providers:

  • one cohort aimed at providers with above average nurse leaving rates
  • one at mental health trusts with above average leaving rates for all clinical staff
Over the next two months we'll be visiting and offering providers direct support to analyse their staff turnover and designing a bespoke improvement plan targeting the drivers of why staff leave.

We now have an opportunity to provide trusts with tailored support to persuade staff to stay in the NHS. It's the right thing to do and it's a real priority for me.

We know there is no magic bullet or formula for getting this absolutely right and it is not all down to retention, but we have a major part to play in supporting all of our staff and making sure we can keep them.

Lots of trusts are doing it and have been doing it, but not necessarily with sufficient focus. Now is the time we believe we have the resource to support the provider sector to do this. Our effort has got to be how we support them to make this a real focus.

Ruth May, Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement

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