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Supporting our staff


Video transcript

00:00:03:06 - 00:00:27:11

Speaker 1

Supporting our staff means having the right workforce to deliver high quality care. Investing in education and training so everyone can reach their ambitions. And we mean everyone. We are all stronger when we value difference and inclusion. We want working at CUH be a good experience for people and positively impact their health and wellbeing. Supported by compassionate and enabling relationships with colleagues.

00:00:28:11 - 00:00:38:04

Speaker 2

People are definitely the best thing about working here. I've been here for 13 years and I trained here as well. So it's the people around me that have moulded me to be the nurse I am today.

00:00:38:11 - 00:00:47:17

Speaker 3

I think it's really important that entry level roles exist for everyone and are available to everyone so that you can get into the hospital and get your foot in the door.

00:00:48:00 - 00:00:58:10

Speaker 4

It means a lot for me, I'm a local lad. When I left school, I didn't know what I wanted to do and I love helping people, I love talking to people, quite a sociable guy and things just make me proud to work here.

00:00:59:04 - 00:01:08:02

Speaker 5

I love working at Addenbrooke's is professionally and personally. It's a lot to learn and there is multi diversity culture around there.

00:01:08:04 - 00:01:09:05

Speaker 4

I enjoy working with.

00:01:09:05 - 00:01:15:07

Speaker 6

The people at Addenbrooke's because they're enthusiastic about the jobs that they do as well as looking after patients.

00:01:15:16 - 00:01:21:19

Speaker 7

What I like the most about working in CUH is the professional development opportunities and the career progression.

00:01:22:01 - 00:01:33:06

Speaker 8

One of the main challenges living in Cambridge is Cambridge is expensive, especially with finding accommodations. It would be great if the trust would help us with some financial assistance or finding out new houses.

00:01:33:15 - 00:01:53:23

Speaker 9

People are what makes the events really special, and that's why we know that we need to focus on recruitment to support our staff, and also we need to focus on retaining the staff that we've got and supporting them to the best of our ability. There are over 12,000 people working here at CUH, and understandably not everybody has the same experience.

00:01:54:09 - 00:02:04:23

Speaker 9

So one of the things that we do to really tune in and listen to that staff voice as an example is through our staff networks. They're a great way of staff being able to engage and have their voice heard by the organization.

Staff giving away free items at recruitment event

We will invest to ensure that we are well staffed to deliver safe and high quality care

Healthcare is provided by people and all our services rely on having enough staff with the right skills and experience to deliver the wide range of ambitions in this strategy: cleaners, porters, scientists, engineers, nurses, allied health professionals, doctors, administrators and countless others.

CUH employs almost twelve thousand people, but where teams are short of staff patients can come to harm and colleagues are put at risk. In the national staff survey only 24% of our staff said there were enough staff to work safely.

Having made significant progress prior to Covid to reduce our vacancy rates to below 4%, the pressures of the pandemic led some staff to leave and disrupted our recruitment and training pipeline. We also now need to expand our staff further to deliver the additional capacity required to reduce waits for planned and emergency care.

We are constantly developing new ways to recruit and retain staff, such as being among the first NHS organisations to welcome degree nursing apprentices as part of the 800 apprentices we have welcomed since 2017 following introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. We also work closely with schools and the voluntary sector to promote NHS careers and training to a wide range of people in our local population.

We also need to retain more staff, which is increasingly difficult in a competitive labour market given the cost of living in Cambridge and high inflation, but without being able to offer the high cost area supplement that is available in London.

By 2025 we want to:

  • Increase our staffing to address the backlog in care and provide safe, high quality care to all patients
  • Recruit staff from a wide range of backgrounds, including from communities who are under-represented in the NHS, and valuing our international recruits
  • Increase retention of current staff
  • Lead nationally innovative work on recruitment such as through Health Education England’s (HEE’s) refugee nurse programme
  • Maximise efficiency of spending on staff by minimising premium pay and optimising deployment of staff
  • Improve staff survey results on adequate staffing levels

We will achieve this by:

  • Maximising undergraduate and postgraduate training places
  • Working with education and training providers to deliver innovative routes into training at CUH
  • Continuing a strong pipeline of international nurses
  • Expanding the number, and broadening the range, of apprenticeships offered at CUH
  • Working with schools, local government and the voluntary sector to promote career opportunities in the NHS
  • Working with ICS, regional and national partners to shape policy and co-design programmes that meet the needs of our current and future staff pipeline
  • Providing practical support with the cost of living in Cambridge, such as with transport, accommodation and food
  • Delivering the other elements of our workforce strategy to help retain existing staff
Team of doctors viewing a screen showing images of the body

We will invest in education, learning, development and new ways of working

People are capable of amazing things at work. The pandemic demonstrated the professionalism and dedication of health and care staff across the country and we are committed to equipping all of our staff with the skills to continuously improve our services.

Teaching and education is central to CUH’s purpose. By training new staff, and supporting existing staff to broaden and deepen their skills, we build the next generations of clinical and non-clinical leaders who will care for our patients in the future. Many of our staff are attracted to CUH by the educational and research opportunities that we provide.

CUH provides vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate training opportunities that offer the foundations for a fulfilling career in the NHS. The pandemic hugely disrupted educational activities as staff were redeployed to frontline care, but also stimulated some new ways of learning, particularly through greater use of virtual opportunities.

We want all our staff to be engaged, enthusiastic and enjoying their careers with us and to feel supported to achieve their goals whilst staying within the CUH family.

We offer Continuous Professional Development to all staff, and support from line managers, so that people are constantly building their capability to do more, and are able to respond to the changing needs of the organisation over time. In the staff survey, 74% of staff said that the organisation offers challenging work and 82% of staff have received an appraisal, which helps to retain skilled staff.

We recognise and promote talent of all staff groups and across all protected characteristics, and are committed to ensure equitable access to these opportunities for everyone.

By 2025 we want to:

  • Train a skilled workforce to meet the needs of the health and care system now and in the future
  • Support all staff to develop their careers, broadening and deepening their capability through education and training
  • Grow capable and experienced leaders and line managers at all levels across all staff disciplines
  • Maintain strong relationships with educational institutions, local government, schools and government bodies and widen access to education, training and development as part of our corporate social responsibility
  • Embed a culture of sustainable continuous improvement

We will achieve this by:

  • Continuing our programme of vocational, undergraduate and postgraduate training and education programmes
  • Maximising CUH’s contribution to the apprenticeship levy funding to take full advantage of a range of training and career progression routes
  • Establishing modern, fit-for-purpose educational facilities at the hospital
  • Providing high quality Continuous Professional Development and learning for all our staff, including in-service improvement
  • Providing an annual appraisal, including a career conversation, to all staff
  • Running leadership programmes within targeted cohorts of staff and on general inter-disciplinary courses
  • Providing opportunities to gain experience working abroad through Cambridge Global Health Partners
Good work
Colleagues sharing a smile

We will strive to ensure that working at CUH will positively impact our health, safety and well-being

The safety and well-being of our staff is equally important as that of our patients.

The Covid pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to keeping staff safe at work, with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing, contact tracing and isolation and vaccination becoming part of daily life. Our Occupational Health service handled more than 200,000 episodes of care during the pandemic; and our Estates teams have maintained a Covid secure environment for staff and patients.

Alongside physical safety we placed equal emphasis on helping staff to be psychologically well and emotionally supported through this period of intense uncertainty and demands. We provided practical support with food, travel and accommodation to make life a little easier, and access to a range of psychological well-being services to support staff impacted.

The next three years bring new challenges on top of these, with clinical services, education and research all catching up after two years of disruption. High inflation is reducing the real incomes of staff, and when coupled with the high cost of living in Cambridge some are facing financial hardship as a result. We remain dedicated to doing everything possible to help staff to thrive so that we can continue to provide the best possible care for patients.

We also acknowledge, and express continued gratitude for, the ongoing support provided by our partners at Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) and their donors.

By 2025 we want to:

  • Maintain a safe environment for patients, staff and visitors
  • Improve the health and well-being of staff – seeking to work more in the preventative space
  • Reduce the number and severity of staff safety incidents, and manage these transparently and effectively
  • Reduce staff attrition rates including reducing staff turnover resulting from ill-health or stress
  • Improve health and well-being of staff

We will achieve this by:

  • Keeping the hospital as safe as possible for staff, patients and visitors by monitoring and responding to levels of community Covid transmission
  • Supporting line managers to promote the health and wellbeing of their teams
  • Providing influenza, Covid and other vaccinations to staff in line with national guidance
  • Delivering an outstanding Occupational Health service
  • Providing regular forums for staff to provide feedback to shape our policy and practice
  • Providing adequate rest and break areas for all staff
  • Providing appropriate practical support to staff including with transport, accommodation, food, on-site childcare and leisure facilities
Pharmacy colleagues putting together a prescription

We will seek to drive out inequality, recognising that we are stronger when we value difference and inclusion

Our staff serve patients and each other because they care deeply about others, and everyone brings the diversity of their perspectives, experience, history, culture and identity to work every day. This diversity makes us collectively more resilient and enriches our common life together as the CUH Family.

CUH welcomes staff from more than a hundred countries, of all races, ethnicities, religions, sexualities and gender identities, health and disability statuses. Everyone is welcome and equally deserving of respect, opportunities and support.

Sometimes staff or patients may make other people feel unwelcome, marginalised or ashamed of their identity. We want staff to feel able to bring their whole selves to work and take pride in their work as an expression of their identity. When people are safe and welcome they are happier, and better able to excel in their work and to support their colleagues.

Some staff groups have faced particular barriers across the NHS including at CUH. Ten per cent of staff report experiencing discrimination from their manager or colleagues but this is higher for staff from ethnic minority groups. Ethnic minority and disabled staff are also under-represented at senior levels at CUH.

We are committed to driving out these inequalities so that all of our staff can thrive and our organisation grow stronger as a result, and we are working with national programmes such as the Workforce Race and Disability Equality Standards (WRES / WDES) to improve our performance in improving equality, diversity and inclusion. This will also make us better able to serve the diversity of our patients.

By 2025 we want to:

  • Achieve a culture of inclusivity and respect for difference, with a safe and supportive environment where everyone can thrive
  • Improve WRES and WDES performance making a tangible difference for our staff
  • Improve staff survey performance on discrimination and respecting individual differences
  • Ensure all workforce processes are equitable, including recruitment, promotion, professional development and disciplinary procedures

We will achieve this by:

  • Increasing use of diversity and inclusion panellists in recruitment
  • Using equality impact assessments to assess the impact of changes to policy and practice on inclusion
  • Actively promoting staff networks as partners in these goals, and offering peer support to colleagues
  • Promoting cultural intelligence and anti-racism to our line managers and leaders
  • Training line managers in sensitivity to individual differences and treating people as individuals with specific needs
  • Actively playing our role in delivering local, regional and national inclusion strategies such as the East of England anti-racism strategy
Team on ward having a conversation

We will foster compassionate and enabling working relationships

Healthcare is a human industry where skilled people work together to meet the needs of people experiencing ill-health.

Positive working relationships within the hospital enables the collaboration and sensitivity required to deliver high quality care, and provide the platform for innovative work with partners. We are glad that more than 70% of our people in our latest survey felt that they were treated with kindness and respect by colleagues. This culture emerges from living our values every day, and we place significant emphasis on creating and maintaining an environment that broadens and deepens the support that we provide to one another.

CUH is also proud to work with a diverse range of partners in health and care services, academia and industry. These partnerships provide huge opportunity for teams at CUH to deliver better care, teaching and research by working with others. We value our relationship with these partners deeply and commit to nurture them over the coming years.

Relationships have never been more important than during Covid, as our staff and partners faced unprecedented disruption to their normal work and prolonged periods of working under extreme uncertainty and intense pressure. Colleagues have consistently reinforced that a sense of team – within and between organisations – and maintaining supportive relationships with each other, was crucial for maintaining their motivation in difficult circumstances.

Last Autumn we presented the Covid Star to all our staff in recognition of the outstanding contributions made during this period. We received positive feedback from colleagues about their pride to be part of CUH’s response to the pandemic.

By 2025 we want to:

  • Deepen positive workplace culture and relationships between colleagues within CUH and with partner organisations
  • Ensure that all staff recognise how much their work is valued by our patients and respected by their colleagues
  • Demonstrate a culture of compassionate leadership, listening and empathy
  • Create a just culture where staff feel supported to learn when things do not go as expected, rather than feeling blamed

We will achieve this by:

  • Demonstrating compassionate leadership through Trust-wide events and communications
  • Recognising and rewarding staff for outstanding achievements, such as through our monthly You Made A Difference and new CUH Annual Awards
  • Championing staff networks that deepen connections between staff with similar experiences
  • Investing in Freedom to Speak Up to provide discreet channels to report incivility and bullying
  • Conducting After Action Reviews (AARs) to learn and improve based on the practical experiences of staff
  • Ensuring that Employee Relations processes are in line with the principles of a just culture
  • Developing line manager training to promote compassionate relationships
  • Delivering all our commitments in a way that deepens the mutual respect of partners
  • Contributing to ICS-wide leadership and organisational development initiatives


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A patient sat on the bed to go into the CT scanner, with a nurse stood next to her holding a radiation guard in his hands