Improving staff engagement through the workforce development strategy

NHS Employers, 2016

This case study from Kettering General Hospitals shares their experiences of how they’ve improved their staff engagement levels through the implementation of a workforce development strategy. The strategy focuses on eight key objectives and is based on findings from the NHS Staff Survey and is aligned to the trust’s wider five year organisational strategy.


Staff turnover rates at Kettering were high, and the new director of human resources recognised that a programme of work was needed to help improve staff morale, engagement and the overall performance of staff across all the sites. The range of activities included the creation of the workforce development strategy and the CARE initiative.

Sustainability and transformation plans in the NHS

Sustainability and transformation plans in the NHS: How are they being developed in practice, King’s Fund

Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been developed by NHS and local government leaders in 44 parts of England. The plans offer a chance for health and social care leaders to work together to improve care and manage limited resources.


Despite the importance of STPs for the NHS and the public, little is known about the process of developing the plans and how the initiative has worked in practice. Based on a series of interviews with senior NHS and local government leaders which took place throughout 2016, this report looks at how STPs have been developed in four parts of the country.


Key findings of the report are:

  • Local context and the history of collaboration within STP footprints have played a major role in determining the progress of the plans.
  • Despite the focus on local ownership, key elements of the process have been ‘top-down’.
  • National requirements and deadlines for the plans have changed over time, and guidance for STP leaders has sometimes been inconsistent and often arrived late.
  • The approaches of national NHS bodies and their regional teams have not always been aligned.
  • Tight deadlines have made it difficult to secure meaningful involvement in the plans from key stakeholders, including patients and the public, local authorities, clinicians and other frontline staff.
  • Organisations face fundamental policy barriers to working together on STPs; existing accountability arrangements focus on individual rather than collective performance.

General practitioner recruitment and retention: an evidence synthesis

Policy Research Unit in Commissioning and the Healthcare System (PRUComm), 2016

This report presents an evidence synthesis on GP recruitment, retention and re-employment. It finds that overall the published evidence focuses primarily on attracting GPs to rural areas. However the literature does provide some useful insights to factors that may support the development of specific strategies for the recruitment and retention of GPs. The report suggests that medical students should be exposed to successful GP role models and general practice and that supporting intrinsic motivational factors and career determinants can influence recruitment.

Effective Health and Wellbeing Boards: findings from 10 case studies

Local Government Association, 2016

Building on the research published in the LGA’s ‘state of the nation report’ on health and wellbeing boards (HWBs), ‘The Force Begins to Awaken’, these ten pen portraits of effective (HWBs) provide an understanding of what an effective HWB looks like and highlight some of the outcomes that HWBs have been able to secure.

The pen portraits of each of the ten HWBs provide an understanding of what an effective HWB looks like and explore the conditions for effectiveness. The pen portraits also highlight some of the outcomes that effective HWBs have been able to secure.

Read more here.

The digital patient: transforming primary care?

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This report from The Nuffield Trust reviews the evidence that exists on digital technology and its impact on patients in primary care and the NHS. It explores the impact of seven types of digital services offered by the NHS:

  1. Wearables and monitoring technology
  2. Online triage tools
  3. Online sources of health information and advice, targeted interventions and peer support
  4. Online appointment booking and other transactional services
  5. Remote consultations
  6. Online access to records and care plans
  7. Apps

The report finds that patient-facing technology is already showing promise that it can improve care for patients and reduce strain on the stretched health service – particularly for people with long-term conditions such as diabetes or COPD. However, this rapidly evolving market comes with risks. Many apps, tools and devices have not been officially evaluated, meaning that their effectiveness is unknown. In some cases, technology can increase demand for services, disengage staff and have the potential to disrupt the way that patients access care.

Moreover, the report warns that policy-makers and politicians should avoid assuming that self-care-enabling technology will produce significant savings, at least in the short term.

The report also presents a series of lessons and recommendations to NHS professionals, leaders and policy-makers about how best to harness the potential of technology and avoid the pitfalls.

See also: Why the NHS must tackle digital exclusion | Nuffield Trust

Person and community-centred approaches to health care

The Health Foundation has published four documents as part of its ‘Realising the value’ programme:

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  • New approaches to value in health and care – makes a series of calls to action to ensure that the approach to understanding, capturing, measuring and assessing value in health and care takes full account of value, as it is experienced and created by people and communities

Health improvement workforce in transition

The Royal Society for Public Health has published Bringing the health improvement workforce together. This report suggests that health improvement services in the UK are converging on an integrated model based on co-location in order to survive funding cuts.

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Although this transition is largely a response to financial pressures, it is providing significant opportunities to deliver better health outcomes through the more integrated, whole-person approach to health that co-location can facilitate.

The report confirms the effectiveness of the health improvement services monitored by the Data Collecting and Recording System (DCRS) across a range of metrics – including a 136% increase in vigorous exercise, a 52% increase in fruit and veg consumption, and a 37% decrease in alcohol consumption post-intervention – as well as their success in engaging with clients in more deprived target demographics which are hard for traditional primary care services to reach. 81,905 clients came through these services between 1 September 2015 and 22 June 2016 alone.

Improving the Care of people with long term conditions

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society is launching a new campaign to improve the care of people with long term conditions through the better use of pharmacists.

An average 1 in 3 people across Great Britain have at least one long term condition. Caring for them accounts for around 50% of GP appointments and approximately 70% of the health and social care budget across the country.

As the third largest health profession in the UK, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society argues that the skills and expertise of pharmacists must be maximised within the multidisciplinary team to provide the best care for patients.

The RPS has published policy documents that focus on how the role of the pharmacist can be enhanced to prevent, identify, treat and support people with long term conditions, as part of a multidisciplinary approach.

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