Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust’s (MKUH) staff benefits programme for its 4,500-strong workforce has improved staff retention rates: turnover is now under 10%, a reduction of nearly 4% since 2018, and vacancies have dropped by close to 3% in 12 months. Mean spending on agency staff has fallen too, with an increase in bank staff, who want to take advantage of the new benefits including weekly pay.
In early 2019, the hospital’s executive team asked staff to come up with ideas to improve their working lives – however big or small, however unusual. Hundreds of ideas came back – from shower facilities for cyclists to a staff lottery and everything in between.
The ideas were narrowed down to those that would benefit the most staff equitably, and the trust has committed to a three-year programme of benefits for staff. The first phase of benefits were introduced in May 2019: free car parking for all staff (with a commitment to also provide a guaranteed parking space longer-term); free tea and coffee in all staff rooms; enhanced staff health and wellbeing services – particularly around stress and musculoskeletal conditions; enhanced bereavement leave, special leave and flexible working; and weekly pay for all bank staff. The next phase includes improved staff rooms and looking at childcare provision. As well as focusing on its own staff, MKUH has also launched a campaign to support and promote flexible working across the NHS – FlexNHS. This involves social media influencers and a grass-roots campaign to understand and overcome the barriers staff face to working flexibly, and to career progress in part time and flexible roles.
The Flex Ambassadors scheme launched nationally at the end of 2019, with the campaign continuing to influence culture and policy on flexible working across the health service.
For more information please contact Kate Jarman, Director of Corporate Affairs at Milton Keynes University Hospital.