This resource brings together guidance and best practice case studies to help trusts develop a strategy to support the retention of healthcare support workers.

Healthcare support worker (HCSW) is an umbrella term that covers a variety of health and care support roles, including healthcare assistant (HCA), nursing assistant, theatre support worker and more.

This resource is part of a package of wider support provided by our national HCSW programme. The programme was launched in September 2019 to support NHS trusts to increase, retain and develop their HCSW workforce, improving patient care and supporting more people to progress into nursing and midwifery roles in the future.

In 2022/2023 the programme is continuing to support recruitment of new HCSWs and has a focus on retention, encouraging current HCSWs to stay in the NHS.

Reducing and maintaining minimal HCSW vacancy rates is essential to supporting the NHS’ recovery from COVID-19 and the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The NHS People Plan, which underpins the NHS Long Term Plan, sets out a clear ambition to have more staff working differently in a compassionate and inclusive culture and the NHS People Promise sets out seven areas where the NHS commits to improving ways of working. These include ensuring all staff are compassionate and inclusive; recognised and rewarded; have a voice that counts; are safe and healthy; are always learning; work flexibly; and work as a team.

This resource showcases examples of best practice to support trusts in addressing challenges related to HCSW retention. It forms part of the HCSW programme’s universal support offer for organisations. Find out more about this support on the FutureNHS platform.

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