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4 October 2023

A new framework for retaining NHS staff should be integrated into winter planning as the NHS braces itself for another high-pressure winter season[1], according to leading experts at ImproveWell, a real-time digital platform for staff to improve health and care.

A new white paper from ImproveWell proposes a framework of eight factors that contribute to workforce retention, based on an in-depth analysis of published research and NHS surveys. The framework will make it easier for NHS organisations to focus on effective strategies to retain staff and integrate them into their winter planning.

ImproveWell is a platform that collects real-time feedback from NHS workers on changes that could improve staff and patient experience. A separate analysis of a sample of nearly 3,500 ideas captured by ImproveWell showed the vast majority (83.8%) fit into two of the drivers identified in the framework – ‘delivering high quality care’ and ‘staff wellbeing and resilience’. Ninety-four per cent of the ideas contributed via ImproveWell’s platform relate to at least one of the eight drivers of retention.

The underlying themes to the eight key drivers in the retention framework range from nationwide challenges such as ‘pay’ and ‘safe staffing levels’, to more local factors such as ‘camaraderie and teamwork’ and ‘recognition and celebration’.

Eighty per cent of the ideas put forward through ImproveWell by frontline staff require no funding, providing a feasible way for NHS organisations to proactively tackle retention.

Dr Na’eem Ahmed, a Consultant Radiologist in the NHS and Clinical Lead and Co-founder of ImproveWell, said: “Winter pressures create a vicious cycle for the NHS. Increased demands without adequate staffing means workers feel under enormous pressure, causing them to leave the NHS entirely or move to part-time shift work, further exacerbating the problem.

“Prioritising staff retention as part of winter planning will be critical to minimising the impact of this and maximising the quality of care. Our research suggests a big impact can be made on retention through simple measures and without a huge financial investment.”

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan[2] shows a gap of up to 360,000 staff is predicted by 2036/37, and in 2022 the NHS lost 9.1% of its employees due to factors including pay and reward, work-life balance, progression and continuing professional development (CPD), as well as health and wellbeing.

ImproveWell is a platform that helps NHS organisations to tailor the way that real-time frontline feedback is collected, quickly identifying areas for improvement as well as suggested solutions based on needs at a local or organisational level. It captures suggestions from employees at all levels, and so encourages tangible, achievable improvement ideas to be put forward that often require no or little funding.

Lara Mott, CEO and Co-founder of ImproveWell, said: “Our framework for workforce retention provides anyone involved in winter planning with clear guidance on what to prioritise to retain and motivate staff during what will be a really tough season.

“Our research highlighted examples showing a significant improvement in retention through relatively simple measures, such as electronic self-rostering to allow more choice and flexibility around shifts[3].

“It’s crucial for NHS organisations to focus on multiple levers to support the workforce over the winter period and beyond. Our framework and platform will make this planning process easier to deliver.”




For media enquiries, please contact:

+44 203 475 0670


Notes to editors:

Download a copy of the White Paper, ‘Delivering Our Promise to Our Staff – Engage, Empower and Retain’, here:


The eight key drivers of workforce retention are:


Retention Driver % of ideas shared by staff using ImproveWell
1. Delivering high quality care 43.7%
2. Staff wellbeing and resilience 40.1%
3. Work-life balance 8.1%
4. Engagement and empowerment 8.5%
5. Reward and recognition 3.9%
6. Sense of belonging 15.0%
7. Bespoke career pathways 7.1%
8. Compassionate leadership 6.1%
Note: ideas may relate to multiple drivers. Sample size: 3,394 ideas


About ImproveWell

Founded in 2016, ImproveWell is a real-time feedback solution for continuous improvement and everyday innovation in health and care. Based in London, its team of 16 operates in healthcare in the UK and overseas, helping organisations improve staff experience and quality of patient care. Its innovative framework empowers frontline workers to drive change, targeting problems like burnout and staff retention. ImproveWell uses a holistic, proactive approach to quality improvement, giving a voice to everyone in healthcare improvement. The company continues to be nominated for prestigious awards, such as the Nursing Time’s Workforce Summit’s 2023 Retention Shortlist and  ‘HSJ’s ‘Workforce and Wellbeing Initiative of the Year’, while also winning at the likes of HTN’s Health Tech Awards.  Website | LinkedIn | Twitter




[3] Reducing nursing turnover by improving joy in work – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust case study from the ImproveWell white paper.

For further information please contact:
020 3475 0670

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