Flexible working in the NHS: we’ve got to make it happen, says chief executive

Simon Stevens tells NHS Confederation the nursing shortage is service’s biggest challenge

Simon Stevens tells NHS Confederation the nursing shortage is the service’s biggest challenge

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens. Picture: Terence Philips

Tackling the nursing shortage is the biggest workforce challenge facing the health service, the head of NHS England said.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens also pointed to flexible working as a way to improve retention of nurses and all other health service staff.

Interim People Plan

Mr Stevens outlined some of the key points of the interim People Plan in a keynote speech to the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester.

The interim plan, published earlier this month, sets out how the NHS should recruit, retain and develop staff in England. 

Measures include a focus on training and education, supporting physical and mental well-being, and flexible working.

‘Staff tell us we’re not a flexible employer’

‘Three quarters of our staff across the health service are women,' he said. 'Half say we are not a flexible employer. There are a whole range of things we have to get right if we are going to solve what is now a fundamental part of the sustainability and improvement of the NHS.’

The plan includes a pledge to restore continuous professional development funding for nurses over the next five years.

Mr Stevens added that the health service would ‘make it easier for people to develop new skills and transition to new roles during the course of their career’.

Further information

Read the Interim People Plan

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