An interview with Professor Mark Radford
Mark Radford is Director of Nursing (Improvement) for NHS improvement with a portfolio that covers workforce, quality improvement and Governance.
Mark qualified as nurse in 1994 and has previously worked in Anaesthetics, Pre-operative assessment, perioperative care, critical care and A&E in the UK and Europe. He was previously a Chief Nurse of a University Teaching Hospital and prior to this a Consultant Nurse in Emergency & Trauma surgery. He is also a Professor of Nursing at Birmingham City University and also Coventry University, with research covering emergency care models, advanced practice, staffing, risk modelling, clinical decision-making, expertise and sociological issues in healthcare.
Mark was an executive member of the British Anaesthetic & Recovery Nurses Association (BARNA) since 1997, Chairing the Association from 1999 – 2001 and President 005-2009. Mark is also the founding editor of the British Journal of Anaesthetic and Recovery Nursing.
He has published widely on advanced practice nursing, safe staffing, and perioperative care including the recent Oxford Handbook of Surgical Nursing.
The programme was originally commissioned by the then Secretary of State in 2017, in acknowledgement of the growing staff shortage. Data analysis of nurse staffing levels showed that there was an increase in nurse numbers with the focus on increasing recruitment rates however, there was still a shortage because of the rise in nurses leaving the profession, not just those retiring but also those in the early stages of their career. So we shifted the focus towards increasing the skillset by retaining levels of experienced staff across the board.
The programme has now been introduced into 110 Trusts, some are further along in the programme than others with wave sites from one to three. There are new plans to support recruitment and we help each Trust to support them through their unique challenges. For example, Thameside and Glossop managed to decrease their staff nurse turnover by 4% in just six months and all wave one Trusts (which is about 40) have managed to decrease their staff turnover.
From a costing perspective, this ties in nicely with our existing agency staffing programme, aimed at reducing the amount of agency staffing. Since we introduced that programme in October 2015, trusts in England have reduced their combined spend on agency staff by over £1 billion. The retention programme encourages Trusts to use staff effectively in a sustainable way, driving them to recruit and retain staff. It decreases the reliance on the use of agency staff to fill the gaps when staff leave. Decreasing reliance on agency staffing in turn improves patient outcomes and experiences by increasing continuity of care thus benefitting frontline care.
Each Trust is different, and we work with them to individually to create a bespoke programme that fits them.
There are numerous challenges facing the workforce. We are dealing with supply issues, Brexit and political change so this creates a tough environment. However, I want visitors to be able to take away the message that in spite of all this, a lot can be done internally to achieve workforce deliverables together.
Professor Mark Radford will be speaking at the UK Health Show to deliver a keynote presentation on the Procurement Transformation Stage entitled: ‘Retention, performance and optimisation – creating a sustainable workforce for the future’.
Join us at the show on the 25-26 September to find out more.
This interview conducted by Natasha Smith, Senior Programme Manager, UK Health Show