Nurse retention drive extends to more NHS trusts

Nurse retention scheme includes ‘support squads’ for staff with menopausal symptoms and HR stay advocates who work with staff to find ways to stop them quitting
Nurse retention drive

Nurse retention scheme includes ‘support squads’ for staff with menopausal symptoms and HR stay advocates who work with staff to find ways to stop them quitting

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An NHS retention drive which includes weekly menopause clinics and ‘stay interviews’ to keep staff from leaving is being expanded across the country.

Successful retention programme extended to more English trusts

NHS England (NHSE) said the programme, which has been rolled out to 23 hospital trusts since its launch in April 2022, prevented thousands of staff from leaving the health service last year. It will now be expanded to up to 42 more trusts in England.

NHSE said about 14,000 fewer staff left the health service in the 12 months up to August 2023 (108,890) – a more than 11% drop compared with 122,970 the year before, according to latest data.

Under the scheme, staff have been offered extra flexibility with working hours, while clinical ‘support squads’ have been helping those going through the menopause at work and HR ‘stay advocates’ have been working to find ways to keep staff on the brink of leaving.

It is hoped the scheme will bolster workforce during extra winter pressures

NHSE chief workforce, training and education officer Navina Evans said: ‘This winter is going to be a challenging one for the NHS, and while staff will be going above and beyond to look after patients, it’s also important that we look after those helping us too.

‘That is why we are almost doubling the number of trusts implementing our successful retention programme, which has helped prevent thousands of staff from leaving the NHS altogether – a crucial intervention at a time when our workforce is under so much pressure.’

Organisations that have implemented the programme include United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust which introduced weekly in-house menopause clinics led by the trust’s well-being team.

Staff going through the menopause can self-refer to the clinic where they can get advice on how to manage symptoms and receive clinical support from a specialist menopause doctor if they need it. NHSE said the initiative has saved the trust £9 million on agency staff costs so far this year.

HR advocates work with staff to identify ways that can help them to stay

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust has been urging staff considering leaving to have confidential catch-ups with HR ‘stay advocates’, who help identify ways to keep them from quitting. According to NHSE, the informal chats have led to staff being offered training for new skills and changes to working hours.

The retention scheme is part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan ambition to retain up to 128,000 more staff over the next 15 years.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: ‘As the largest employer in the country, there is still a lot the different organisations that make up the NHS can learn from one another, as this programme demonstrates.’

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