Part-time work and jobsharing in health care: is the NHS a family-friendly employer?
This paper examines the nature and level of flexible employment in the National Health Service (NHS) by investigating the extent to which part-time work and job sharing arrangements are used in the provision and delivery of health care. It attempts to analyse the reasons for an increasing number of part-timers and a very limited number of job sharers in the NHS and to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each pattern of employment. Data collected through the use of questionnaires and interviews from 55 NHS trusts reveal that the use of part-time work is a tradition that seems to fit well with the cost-saving measures imposed on the management of the service but at the same time it has led to increasing employee dissatisfaction, and that job sharing arrangements are suitable for many NHS employees since the majority of them are women with a desire to combine family commitments with career prospects but a very limited number of employees have had the opportunity to job share. Therefore it is concluded that to attract and retain the quality of staff needed to ensure high performance standards in the provision and delivery of health care the NHS should accept the diversity that exists within its workforce and take a more proactive approach to promoting a variety of flexible working practices and family-friendly policies.