Improving workforce sustainability at an NHS foundation trust
Our Organisational Development team implemented a dynamic five-year integrated workforce plan at an NHS foundation trust, resulting in a clear prioritised plan of action to achieve a strategically aligned and sustainable workforce that is well-equipped to anticipate and fulfil future healthcare needs.
The trust, a leader in its field within Europe, identified the need for a strategic approach to address workforce challenges. To build a sustainable workforce for both the present and the future, the trust commissioned NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU (MLCSU) to develop a five-year integrated workforce plan. The objectives were clear: create a strategic workforce plan, enhance workforce planning within the continuous business planning process, and empower the staff with workforce planning skills.
The action steps included:
- Workforce plan development: crafting a 5-year workforce plan to assess the current workforce, project future demand, and identify gaps. Enhancing the workforce planning element within the Trust’s annual business planning process.
- Training and capability building: implementing a training program for workforce planning, aimed at managers and clinicians, using a train-the-trainer model to cultivate workforce planning champions.
- Engagement and analysis: engaging stakeholders through targeted meetings to gather insights on workforce strengths and challenges. Analysing workforce data to create a narrative around staffing gaps and challenges. Applying a national supply model to forecast workforce growth and identify supply routes.
- Strategic initiatives: integrating workforce considerations into the trust’s annual business planning. Planning for international recruitment and developing strategies for clinical roles and apprenticeships. Conducting reviews of team capacities, vacancies, and turnover rates to inform talent management.
The trust board’s approval of the workforce plan set into motion a series of strategic initiatives designed to build a robust workforce pipeline. This included a focus on areas of risk such as the nursing workforce and the operational facets of services like theatres.
Key impacts were:
– A responsive and live workforce plan aligned with the trust’s strategic business planning and estate strategy.
– A workforce development strategy focused on international recruitment, role expansions, and maximising apprenticeship programs.
– Planning the next phase of deep-dive workforce planning for critical services, underpinned by process mapping and skills analysis.
The trust’s forward-thinking approach has established a blueprint for addressing workforce challenges, ensuring the delivery of high-quality orthopaedic care now and in the future.
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