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Thousands fewer staff left the NHS last year, thanks to a new retention programme

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The pilot programme will be expanded across the country to benefit 42 more NHS trusts

The National Health Service (NHS) retention programme has benefitted 23 NHS Trusts since it launched in April 2022, with thousands fewer staff leaving frontline roles.

NHS data showed that 14,000 fewer staff left the service in the 12 months up to August 2023 (108,890) compared to 122,970 the year before.

In a statement released on Thursday, the NHS England said it is expanding the pilot programme across the country to benefit 42 more NHS trusts.

The programme is part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan ambition to retain up to 128,000 more staff over the next 15 years in addition to training record numbers of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Under this new initiative, NHS staff are being offered extra flexibility with working hours, clinical ‘support squads’ have been introduced to help menopausal women at work, and HR ‘stay advocates’ are designated to identify ways to keep staff on the brink of leaving.

Health Minister, Andrew Stephenson, commented: “Staff are the backbone of our NHS, working tirelessly to take care of us and our loved ones and we’re making changes – including through the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan – to ensure we retain their valuable skills.

“It’s encouraging to see the NHS’s retention programme has helped to reduce the number of people leaving. We need to build on this and continue to deliver the changes needed so that the country’s biggest employer remains an attractive and fulfilling place to work.”

Dr Navina Evans, Chief Workforce, Training & Education Officer at NHS England said they are almost doubling the number of trusts implementing the retention programme as “this winter is going to be a challenging one for the NHS”, and it’s “a crucial intervention at a time when our workforce is under so much pressure.”

As part of the Long Term Workforce Plan, the NHS will also recruit and train hundreds of thousands more people and adopt the latest tech to give staff the support they need, she added.

 

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