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Why flexibility matters

Posted by Robert DHSC (Admin) Sep 6, 2019 Posted in Blogs

We are Kate and Aasha. NHS staff and founders of a movement called @FlexNHS. We both work flexibly and have needed - still need - flexibility to balance being mums to young kids with pursuing jobs we love.

We know how much flexibility and work life balance matters. In sharing stories over Twitter, we created @FlexNHS as space to share stories; to seek support and to look for solutions. Sharing those stories - raising our voices and the voices of staff working across the NHS is a powerful agent for change.

We need practical solutions to provide better support for staff. Flexible working in the NHS is undoubtedly a challenge. Solutions need to be built around the challenges of 24/7 services; need to take in complex shift and rostering systems; and must be able to be delivered in a fair and equitable way.

Flexibility isn't a one-size fits all solution. It can be both structured (a set shift pattern) and dynamic (flexible start times). It needs to consider the individual, team and service provision. Some of the solutions might be organisational - looking again at policy and practice; or investing in tech to support remote and mobile working.

The NHS is full of people who care, who want to make a difference and who, collectively, every day, go a million extra miles in their jobs.

Flexible working could make the difference between staying in a career you love or leaving it. It could make the difference between the NHS keeping highly-skilled, needed and sought-after staff, and losing them. We hear these stories every day from nurses, doctors, midwives, managers, administrators...We advocate strongly that flexibility is for everyone and not only those with caring responsibilities - because all our time is of equal value. But for both of us, right now and over the last few years, flexibility at work has meant we can continue in jobs and careers we love, while bringing up our kids - and that means everything.

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