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NHS Flex For The Future: driving change on the ground

Our report into the largest ever flexible working change project within the NHS, commissioned by NHS England and Improvement.

The workforce crisis in the NHS is now at an acute level. Recruitment and retention are more challenging than ever, with data from early 2022 suggesting that one in 10 nursing positions, and one in 17 doctors’ jobs were unfilled. And in the last quarter of 2021, at least 400 NHS staff in England left their posts every single week due to inadequate work-life balance.

Faced with a mountain to climb, and believing that flexible working is a key part of the solution, NHS England and Improvement commissioned us to create a model for introducing and embedding flexible working practices within the NHS, and to implement it at scale. The result was NHS Flex for the Future, the largest ever flexible working change project within the NHS, involving teams from 93 NHS trusts and organisations.

The project lasted six months and saw us convening, educating and upskilling change teams from each organisation, with the aim of developing a tailored action plan that would drive change on the ground. Feedback from our post-programme evaluation already indicates real shifts in attitude and approach, with action plans being developed and supported at senior levels. Full details of the project are included in the report. You can also find out how individual change team members experienced the programme by reading a selection of case studies.

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