Building a resilient workforce for Kent and Medway

We have 43,500 staff working in health and social care in Kent and Medway, but we have some challenging vacancies right across the system. To deliver our plans we need the right staff, in the right places with the right skills. This workstream makes sure we co-ordinate how this happens.

The workstream has also formed a Local Workforce Action Board (LWAB) as part of its work and meets monthly to take forward projects to deliver the vision of a workforce fit to deliver sustainable, high-quality, patient-centred care.

The workstream has three objectives:

  • To recruit the staff we need
  • To retain the staff we need
  • To equip our staff to give the best service to patients and the public.

What have local people told us?

The public have told us that they are worried about our staff shortages, and the stress that it puts on the staff we have. They want to know that we have a plan to recruit and retain people.

What we have done so far

  • The social media and online recruitment campaign East Kent – Take a Different View is showing encouraging progress in attracting health and social care professionals to the area and will be extended to work across Kent and Medway.
  • We also want to encourage people to consider a career as a care worker, so we are planning an online and social media recruitment campaign that shows the rewards of this work.
  • Canterbury Christ Church University, and the University of Kent have submitted a bid for a medical school for Kent. NHS and social care partners across Kent and Medway have signed letters of support.  The result of the bid will be announced in March.
  • We have introduced new pay ceilings for temporary staff to make sure we are spending our money effectively.
  • We are working on a Kent and Medway-wide development project for NHS and social care leaders.
  • Following approval of funding last year, the GP international recruitment project is underway. We have vacancies for 130 GPs across Kent and Medway.
  • We have undertaken a major retention study that gave staff a questionnaire and discussion forum to talk about what is important to them in their jobs. The results will be applied in our work on retention.
  • We are funding projects across all a wide-range of areas such as prevention, mental health, local care, social care and hospital care to research how we can recruit staff for those areas and support them in working in new ways that help patients and citizens better.

What are the next steps?

  • We will continue with an extensive programme of careers fairs, open days and courses to encourage people into health and social care careers.
  • Making sure our training and development programme is as good as it can be, including return to nursing courses and free courses for social care workers, plus training programmes for staff who are working in new ways and a specific course for leaders.
  • We will continue our joint work on agency staff use and costs.
  • We will assess results of pilot schemes to show how new ways of working can benefit all.
  • We will continue our detailed work to identify what types and numbers of staff, with what skills, we need for the future.

How can you get involved?

Recruitment is one of our biggest challenges. Please encourage friends and family to consider careers in health and social care – there are over 300 different roles and it’s a really rewarding career choice. Google ‘health careers’ and ‘skills for care’ for more information.

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