health & social care

The Future of the NHS Workforce

health & social care

08:45 - 16:40

Thursday 23 May 2019

Central London

This Forum will provide an opportunity to explore the threat posed to healthcare provision by a range of NHS workforce challenges and strategise how to overcome them. Attendees will discuss with leading policymakers how to best deal with wide-scale vacancies, skill shortages, violence towards staff, bullying within staff and leadership inequalities. Delegates will also learn from best practice case studies that are implementing successful strategies to deal with the multitude of crises within the NHS workforce that have arisen over recent years.


This Forum will bring together leaders from across the NHS and Health Sector.

Typical job titles will include:

  • Chief Executives
  • Heads of Human Resources
  • Heads of People
  • Heads of Organisational Development
  • Heads of Talent
  • Workforce Directors
  • Workforce Development Managers
  • Workforce Retention Project Managers
  • Senior Recruitment Officers
  • Delivery and Programme Managers
  • Directors of Operations
  • Directors of Organisational Development
  • Directors of Clinical Services
  • Training and Development Managers
  • Apprenticeship Leads

This Forum is also open to Central Government and the Private Sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Helen Bullers, Director of People and Organisational Development, NHS England
  • Giles Denham, Director of Strategic Relationships, Health Education England
  • John Rogers, Chief Executive, Skills for Health 
  • Tracie Joliff, Director of Inclusion, NHS Leadership Academy
  • Kirsten Armit, Chief Operating Officer, Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Sheila McQueen, Professor of Nursing and Continuing Professional Development – Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing, University of Sunderland (invited)


Morning Keynote: Tackling a Range of Workforce Concerns Across the NHS

  • Implementing the NHS Long Term Plan‘s plans to ensure a sufficient supply of NHS workers who have access to ongoing training and wellbeing support
  • Formalising the October 2018 Violence Reduction Strategy to safeguard NHS staff from dangerous patients following a 15% rise in patient attacks on staff in the past year
  • Implementing the November 2018 Barriers and Enablers and Empowering NHS Leaders to Lead reports, which aim to raise diversity and clinician transition into NHS leadership
  • Ensuring part of the £20.5million of additional NHS funding is directed towards workforce concerns, including strengthening NHS England’s Staff Retention Programme to retain NHS staff

Helen Bullers, Director of People and Organisational Development, NHS England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Working in Partnership with NHS Staff to Improve NHS Workforce Conditions

  • Implementing NHS workforce planning and intelligence, including a set of shared principles for future workforce decisions and providing workforce data to Trusts, Integrated Care Systems and STPs
  • Educating and supplying doctors and dentists, making the case for a 25% increase in medical school places and allocating these 1,500 places across the country
  • Training and supplying clinical professionals by increasing nurse training places by 15% in the three years to 2016 and directly supporting the creation of dozens of new apprenticeships
  • Running the Return to Practice programmes which have recruited over 4,000 nurses and allied health professionals
  • Agreeing a new framework for advanced clinical practice and developing new roles such as nursing associates and physician associates

Giles Denham, Director of Strategic Relationships, Health Education England (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Improving Staff Retention Through a Multifaceted Approach

  • Collaborating with Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to generate a corporate retention group, which consists of stakeholders and HR partners from clinical staff groups aiming to provide a range of staff benefits to improve retention
  • Prioritising relationship building with new staff via dedicated meetings, which has reduced the problem of post-offer dropouts from 50% to 27% between 2016/17 and 2017/18
  • Conducting extensive ‘stay discussions’ with staff from areas of the trust with high turnover rates to encourage staff to stay and build data to understand why staff are leaving
  • Offering a rental deposit loan to nursing and allied health professional (AHP) staff equal to £1,500, which has helped staff deal with rising housing costs
  • Co-ordinating a wide-ranging strategy to improve retention, reducing preventable leavers by 6% between 2016/17 to 2017/18

Lynn Demeda, Director of Workforce Programmes, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking Session


Special Keynote: Working in Partnership to Raise Standards and Improve Skills Development Across NHS Trust Workforces

  • Providing expertise to NHS Trusts to deliver workforce solutions alongside clinicians and healthcare specialists by improving the quality of their investment in training, retention and staff turnover
  • Delivering Skills for Health’s Workforce Planning programme, which ensures that NHS Trusts have workforces which are of sufficient skill and size to meet patient requirements to the highest standard
  • Driving the National Skills Academy for Health, which includes the Apprenticeship Training Agency to drive healthcare apprenticeships and developing staff through learning and development programmes
  • Delivering a joined-up workforce with social care in order to drive efficiencies, savings and care quality, as demanded by the Integration and Better Care Fund Policy Framework 2017 to 2019

John Rogers, Chief Executive, Skills for Health (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Implementing an Effective Apprenticeship Programme to Improve Workforce Standards

  • Prioritising apprenticeships by expanding National Vocational Qualifications to all workers in bands 1-4 in order to improve staff skills and encourage NHS career progression
  • Engaging over 600 staff in Aintree University Hospital’s (AUH) apprenticeship programme since 2009, with a 90% completion success rate
  • Ensuring 30% of all band 1-4 staff have completed the apprenticeship programme, including 25% of apprentices achieving significant career progression within the NHS trust
  • Developing AUH’s own nurses via this apprenticeship programme so that 38% of health care assistants who began on an apprenticeship are now fully qualified nurses working within the trust
  • Delivering tangible business benefits through apprenticeship expansion to secure retention rates three times higher than average staff retention rates across the NHS

Awarded Best Apprentice Employer at Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Awards

Paul Smyth, Apprenticeship Lead, Aintree University Hospital (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Implementing a Strategy to Reduce Bullying Among Staff and Improving the Onboarding Experience for New Starters

  • Creating a charter and video to highlight bullying issues and anti-bullying commitments, with over 90% of staff actively following the programme and 4,000 staff watching the video
  • Assigning ‘buddies’ to staff to improve communication and recruiting 45 workplace contacts to deliver intensive anti-bullying courses, reducing bullying reports by over 8% from 2015 to 2017
  • Engaging with new staff via a unique ‘new starter portal’, which digitally provides key information, forms, value training and answers to key questions about the trust
  • Improve first impressions by allowing new starters to engage with the Chief Executive and implementing a ‘welcome day’ to fully engage with fellow staff
  • Increasing the percentage of staff who would recommend the trust as a place to work by 13% and reducing new staff turnover rate by 18.2% in one year

Jane Waters, Cultural Change Programme Lead, and Robert Fordham, Senior Organisational Development Adviser, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Overcoming the Barriers to Inclusion and Diverse NHS Leadership

  • Generating high quality, diverse leadership development across the NHS by ensuring the NHS Leadership Academy works closely to drive forward inclusion programmes
  • Implementing the Workforce Race Equality Standard, which focuses on improving the experiences and representation of BAME staff given that only 7% of BAME staff sit on trust boards
  • Driving the Stepping Up programme, which speeds up the transition of BAME staff into leadership roles by informing them of the routes, pathways and strategies to progress their NHS careers
  • Understanding the centrality of inclusion to creating a supportive culture throughout NHS trusts by leading by example and tackling the blame culture from the top

Tracie Joliff, Director of Inclusion, NHS Leadership Academy (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Improving Healthcare Outcomes by Increasing the Number of Clinicians in Senior Leadership Roles

  • Spearheading a Strategic Vision 2017-2021 to improve healthcare outcomes in the UK by driving excellence in NHS leadership through hands-on training, GP mentoring and high-quality research
  • Releasing the Barriers and Enablers report, commissioned by the DHSC, to drive research and strategy towards increasing the number of clinicians in senior leadership roles
  • Establishing the FMLM Trainee Steering Group, which is training over 800 doctors to position themselves to transition from a clinician role to a management role
  • Running the FMLM Medical Steering Group to work with medical schools across the country in driving curriculum changes which place management, as well as clinical skills, at the heart of learning
  • Aiming to fill NHS Chief Executive vacancies and the low average tenure lengths of three years by guiding and supporting Chief Executives via on the job training and advice

Kirsten Armit, Chief Operating Officer, Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Reducing Violence Towards Trust Staff Via a Strategic Safety Programme

  • Securing £500,000 of funding from the Health Foundation to implement a 4 Steps to Safety programme, which generates a safer environment for staff by focusing on proactive care and patient engagement
  • Applying Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression (DASA), which can predict the escalation of violence by 24-hour patient monitoring
  • Tackling the issue of patient violence at the most high-risk period when they are first admitted by conducting an immediate violence risk assessment
  • Setting up Compact, an agreement signed by patients and staff to reduce frustrations and disagreements which can lead to violence
  • Ensuring that these approaches are sustained by constant communication between managers and staff, generating a 48% reduction in the number of violent attacks on staff since implementation

Shortlisted for 2018 Best UK Employer Award at The Nursing Times Awards

Andrea Langley, Quality Improvement Manager, Devon Partnership NHS Trust (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Placing Inclusion and Diversity at the Heart of Staff Culture

  • Implementing UHMBT’s Inclusion and Diversity Strategy 2016-2021, which aims to create a culture of inclusion, diversity and respect to benefit staff welfare, patient care and overall operation of the trust
  • Introducing a specific ‘Lead for Inclusion and Diversity’ and an ‘Inclusion and Diversity Steering Group’, which effectively implement the Workforce Race Equality Standard to tackle race inequalities across the trust
  • Developing strong partnerships internally, such as with the BME Staff Network and LGBT Staff Network, and externally, such as with Lancashire LGBT, to create a culture of respect and inclusion
  • Carrying out regular equality impact assessments across UHMBT to ensure that directors and the entire trust are constantly accountable for diversity and inclusion
  • Becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion to be a genuine leader across the region for promoting equality at all levels of the trust’s workforce, in policy implementation and via active campaigning

Awarded 7th Most Inclusive Employer in the UK at The 2017 UK Inclusive Top 50 Employers List

Awarded Inclusive Team of the Year 2016 by NHS Employers

David Wilkinson, Director of Workforce and Organisation Development, University Hospitals of Morecombe Bay, NHS Foundation Trust (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing and Delivering Clear Career Pathways Across an NHS Trust

  • Implementing a targeted strategy across the Trust to move skilled workers into leadership roles, retain the most skilled workers and drive career guidance
  • Creating a ‘careers clinic’, which offers staff constant professional career advice in order to keep them fully informed on potential upwards career movements, with 85 Trust nurses attending the clinics
  • Creating a fast-track for sideways movements within the Trust by reducing the complex forms and requirements for moving, with 52 staff filling vacancies by transferring internally
  • Raising awareness of career opportunities in the trust and eliminating numerous complex assessment processes to save £468,000 in recruitment costs
  • Building staff data and turning attention towards current staff rather than new staff to fill vacancies, saving £329,000 in temporary staffing and cutting total nursing vacancies in half from 16% to 8%

Natalie Shamash, Project Lead, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (invited)


Case Study: Promoting Flexible Working and CPD Opportunities to Reduce Staff Turnover

  • Implementing an action plan which prioritises constant self-development and flexible working opportunities to promote staff welfare and reduce staff turnover rates across the trust
  • Delivering a range of high quality training opportunities by utilising the apprenticeship levy, including advanced practice and postgraduate courses
  • Enabling staff to work across settings by creating portfolio contracts with primary care, which means that workers have more autonomy over their working location where possible
  • Improving data capture to direct trust resources towards identifying where nurses need further development and career guidance, reducing nursing and midwifery turnover from 22.8% in 2017 to 16.8% in 2018
  • Signposting ‘senior leaders’ and ‘heads of education’ to healthcare assistants for personal development training, reducing healthcare assistant turnover from 28.3% to 19.0% between 2017 and 2018

Jo Howarth, Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

According to The Kings Fund, workforce-related problems are now the biggest threat to the NHS. NHS staff vacancies have risen by over 15% in the past year and will reach over 350,000 by 2030. Resultantly, 25% of doctors feel burnt out and 70% of junior doctors are working on under-staffed rotas, with 38% of staff feeling unwell due to overworking. Furthermore, violence towards staff from patients rose by over 15% in the past year and one fifth of NHS doctors were bullied by fellow staff in 2017 at an estimated cost of £2 billion per year. Finally, leadership inequalities are rife among NHS boards, evidenced in that 40% of doctors are from BAME backgrounds, yet only 7% make up trust boards.

This wealth of workforce crises must be tackled. In aiming to do so, the January 2019 NHS Long Term Plan vows to provide NHS trusts with the staff backing that they need by expanding the number of workers and building a more supportive culture via a comprehensive New Workforce Implementation Plan. This plan will operate in partnership with Health Education England to establish a National Workforce Group to support Local Workforce Action Boards in promoting staff well-being and workforce transformation. It also prioritises the ongoing improvement of NHS staff skills through continued professional development following 2018 figures showing that ongoing training investment is only a third of its 2014/15 amount.

In November 2018, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock announced the NHS Violence Reduction Strategy, prioritising the NHS working alongside police units to reduce violence towards NHS staff. Additionally, the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) November 2018 Barriers and Enablers report and Leadership Development programme aim to promote effective NHS leadership on boards, with Matt Hancock vowing to promote leadership diversity.

The additional £20 billion of funding directed towards the NHS in the October 2018 Autumn Budget provides a real opportunity to ensure that strategic policy successfully resolves the NHS’s workforce crises. However, given the worsening nature and range of these issues, funding alone cannot solve everything. NHS workers must come together to co-ordinate a strategy and disseminate best practice for the sake of both NHS staff and patients.

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