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Innovative new ‘United People’ strategy launched for Surrey

Ensuring we build and retain a sustainable workforce is one of the greatest challenges facing our organisations today. The health and social care sector faces a range of difficult issues such as high demand for services, high waiting times, falling staff retention and satisfaction, a difficult labour market, declining public satisfaction and a worsening financial environment.

We need to do something different if we are to achieve our ambitious vision and increase our focus on population health and ill health prevention, as well as providing high quality, sustainable services. The recent Fuller Stocktake has also called for new integrated neighbourhood teams to provide more holistic care for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

So, it is time for something new. Working together across health, social care, local government, the voluntary, community and faith sectors as well as education, we have co-designed an innovative new strategy ‘United Surrey Talent.’ 

Our aim? To unite Surrey talent across health, care and the voluntary, community and faith sectors, which is enabled, mobile and skilled to serve others during fulfilled careers.

At its heart is a ‘united team’ approach, aiming to share talent and expertise across partners and sectors. Whilst we have no magic wand and cannot control everything, we do believe many solutions lie within our collective gift if we work together differently. For example, turnover in the care sector is nearly 40%, with little recognition of the value these roles bring, low job security and currently no co-ordinated support for career advancement.  We also struggle with too few registered nurses, but we do not make use of the nursing associate role, despite nursing support recruitment consistently over-achieving.  We have the opportunity to grow our own.  Making this all work better requires scale and with so many partner organisations being small or medium businesses, we can help everyone by clubbing together and sharing resources.

Our approach has six key levers for the coming years:

  1. To modernise and integrate recruitment – for example, sharing candidates between partners to ensure the right job is matched to the right person and preventing good talent from having to “shop around”
  2. Building new capabilities – such as a new Health & Social Care Academy for learning and education across our 40,000 staff and students in our local colleges and higher education
  3. Developing fulfilling careers – for example upskilling and supporting care workers to deliver more health care and offering sometimes two jobs instead of one – the first job and a guarantee of advancement once standards have been achieved.
  4. Establishing a ‘Surrey offer’ – this will entail levelling up staff experience, such as ensuring everyone can raise concerns with an independent advisor if they are worried and addressing parity of terms and conditions between similar roles in different teams.  We must also find ways of helping more staff with affordable accommodation.
  5. To ‘enable’ the United Surrey Team – supporting a one-team approach by helping staff move easily between organisations, building our new neighbourhood teams and supporting staff with continuous digital advancement.
  6. Building our expertise – This will include sharing our expertise, resources and systems to ensure all organisations can benefit from this new approach.

These are large ambitions and we are also mindful of the improvements needed right now. Some of our early pioneer projects are already underway.

In East Surrey, the Home First initiative will help patients go home earlier this winter with the help of an integrated enhanced care team. In Guildford and Waverley, candidate sharing has already begun and in primary care we will see the first development of a reservist pool to help general practice.

ICS Chief People and Digital Officer, Michael Pantlin said:

I am delighted that so many organisations have pulled together on this and want to make changes for today as well as tomorrow. There is a win-win on offer here to help ensure more people can be better cared for and more quickly, in the right setting for them, whilst simultaneously providing more job satisfaction and access to employment and advancement.

In support of the strategy, both NHS Surrey Heartlands and Surrey County Council have jointly invested.

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