Understanding flexibility and wellbeing to improve HCSW retention

Data suggests that many healthcare support workers (HCSWs) leave the NHS because their shift patterns are not conducive to a good work-life balance. 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. As flexibility can be a driver of HCSW attrition, it’s important that trusts understand how this translates for HCSWs. You can read more about flexible working on NHS England’s Looking After Our People – Retention Programme pages.

Making sure that HCSWs have flexibility in their working patterns, as well as a robust induction, good pastoral support and access to ongoing learning and development opportunities, can help HCSWs to look after their own wellbeing, so that they are able to face any potential challenges that may arise within the role and deliver the highest quality care.

Case study: Circle of Wellbeing at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust has had a staff wellbeing service for around 10 years. As part of this offer, the trust runs a workshop called ‘Boost Your Wellbeing’ in which the circle of wellbeing is introduced to staff.

The Circle of Wellbeing draws upon an occupational therapy model of self-assessment alongside cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, to help staff recognise what impacts on their wellbeing and put in place an action plan setting out steps to look after themselves. Conversations during the workshop also focus on topics such as how seasons and other factors can impact on wellbeing.

More tools to support the retention of HCSWs through ensuring they can work flexibly, can be found in the Flexibility and Wellbeing Toolbox on the FutureNHS platform.

Next steps

We hope to continue to add to this resource and we are continuing to update and add to our FutureNHS collaboration platform.
If you have any questions, suggestions or examples of best practice of your own to share, please contact us.