James Devine, Medway NHS Foundation Trust

James Devine, Chartered Member of the CIPD with 15 years’ experience in HR, became Executive Director of HR&OD for Medway NHS Foundation Trust in 2016. Medway faced many challenges: a nursing vacancy rate of over 425 FTE; a stagnant nurse recruitment plan; poor staff engagement; high agency spend; and high vacancy levels.

James and the team immediately set out to build professionalism within the service and lead the strategy to turnaround the Trust’s unsustainable agency spend, which was reduced by 55% within five months.

A revised nursing recruitment strategy was instigated to resolve stagnant nursing vacancies. This has contributed to a significant improvement to the nursing workforce profile; and better continuity of care, patient experience and staff experience as a result.

"HR can step across traditional professional boundaries to deliver transformative strategies"

Following a highly successful first year, James was asked to lead the Trust’s Improvement programme which has subsequently delivered several transformational outcomes across 13 workstreams for the Trust. James’ director portfolio expanded to include financial recovery and patient pathway redesign.

Demonstrating the ambition, credibility and pace often missing at very senior levels of the NHS, James was appointed to Deputy Chief Executive in addition to his current role in November 2017. Within 12 months, projects were launched including a two-year Workforce Strategy delivering fast-paced change; stagnated nurse hires were reversed with over 240 new nurses; leadership sessions were introduced with high engagement; and performance- stretching KPI’s were established for HR resulting in a reduction of 1.3 days in time to hire and KPIs up 68% overall.

Alongside the CEO, James led the organisational development redesign of executive team portfolios to improve spans of control and increase focus on operational and financial performance.

James and his team have demonstrated that HR can step across traditional professional boundaries to deliver transformative strategies. At the heart of his work is commitment to the organisation and the patients he serves. As a result, in November 2018, James was appointed to the interim Chief Executive role.