NHS Workforce Alliance Conference Speakers

NHS Workforce Alliance Conference 2023 brings together successful collaboration of NHS healthcare professionals

NHS healthcare professionals involved in all aspects of managing workforce came together to share experiences and learn from each other at the NHS Workforce Alliance Conference on 11 October 2023 hosted at the Mercure Grand Hotel in Bristol. The conference brought together sector experts, NHS trusts, ICS/ ICB members and Alliance category experts to discuss NHS workforce strategies and best practice.

A warm welcome and overview of the day

The event began with a warm welcome and an overview of the day by Will Laing, the NHS Workforce Alliance Operations Director. The objective of the day was clear – to share learnings, make new connections, and ultimately for NHS colleagues to support each other in helping to shape a more sustainable NHS workforce.

A powerful insight into the importance of respecting ALL hospital workers

Under the title “Working well together, Be the best place to work,” Gill Chapman, Head of Service – Staff Bank at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, shared her valuable insights in the first presentation of the day. Gill’s presentation provided a powerful message about firstly understanding the need to recruit the right workers, and then adopting a positive culture to enable staff to grow and achieve outcomes. She used the ‘leaky bucket’ analogy to highlight the need to balance both solid acquisition and retention techniques. Gill’s organisation has proved that planning ahead using evidenced based data combined with a culture of civility in your workforce can positively impact staffing levels required to fulfil the key objective of quality patient care.

Sharing the biggest workforce challenges

The mid-morning session featured breakout discussions on workforce planning challenges, facilitated by colleagues from the Alliance. These sessions provided an opportunity for delegates to openly discuss their experiences of workforce management within the NHS. Common themes quickly became apparent as each table presented their collaborative feedback. Valuable discussions centred around topics such as: stakeholder and senior leader buy-in; geographic and rural locations; covid backlogs; and agency staffing solutions.

Agency usage and the need to develop supplier relationships

Following lunch, Clare Martin, Associate Director of Procurement at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust presented a case study on agency staffing and supplier relationships. Clare shared her journey to reducing agency staff costs which included support from NHS Workforce Alliance category experts as an extension of her own team. Strategic changes implemented by Clare’s team included: the use of evidenced based data; supplier engagement and clear implementation of agency KPIs.

Managing a temporary workforce in 2023 – what you need to know

Katy Horner, a legal employment specialist and partner at DAC Beachcroft LLP, brought her 20 years’ experience in health and social care to the conference. Her presentation provided a legal perspective to the conference and was a valuable resource for delegates seeking practical answers to the legal aspects of managing agency and bank staff, as well as fixed-term workers.

Further insights and clarifications discussed in an open Q&A session to conclude the day

The conference concluded with an open Q&A session with the audience and speakers, hosted by Will Laing. This provided an opportunity for attendees to delve deeper into discussions with the trusts and legal expert, as well as share insights with each other.

“Found the day invaluable and I will be taking back the information I have learnt to my organisation. It would be great to attend another Workforce Alliance conference.” Danielle Tolley, Category Buyer – Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

In summary, the day provided NHS colleagues a great opportunity to learn, share and collaborate on all aspects of NHS workforce management. Throughout the day we witnessed strong connections being made through open and supportive conversations which we hope will help improve the common challenges we face in the pursuit of effective NHS workforce management in an ever-changing environment.

Future NHS Workforce Alliance collaboration events will be announced via social media. Make sure you follow on Twitter (X) @NHS_WA and LinkedIn NHS-Workforce-Alliance

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