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One in seven NHS staff are trying to leave: New report on the pressing issue of worker retention

hospital hallway

  • The influence of a number of previously identified positive effects on NHS staff retention, appear to have weakened since 2020. 44% cited job security in winter 2020 falling to 37% by spring 2022. Intrinsic job satisfaction from caring for patients dropped from 39% to 35% (over the same period).
  • The most important reasons why staff leave NHS employment are, respectively: stress (66%), shortage of staff/resources (62%) and pay (55%). Pay has become markedly more salient since 2020 (winter 2020, 37%; spring 2022, 55%).
  • “Abnormally high staff shortages” and, “Not enough time to do my job properly” were the highest ranked sources of worry amongst staff in spring 2022. Relatedly, there is evidence of significant rates of under-reporting of worries and concerns to line-managers.
  • More than one in three NHS staff reported one or more symptoms of burnout most days or every day in spring 2022, largely attributed to their work.
  • Ratings of confidence in any improvement in working conditions over the next 12 months (beyond spring 2022) ranged from low (for funding, workload, and staffing levels) to modest across all of the criteria explored.
  • Approximately 50% of the workforce see themselves as remaining in NHS employment for the next five years but approximately a third aspire to exit to alternative employment or retirement by 2027.
  • The proportion of (all) staff who “…would recommend working for the NHS to others” shows a negative trend, with a drop of 10 percentage points (61% to 51%) between late 2020 and spring 2022. Among nurses the proportion recommending working for the NHS in spring 2022 was 41% (down from 54% in late 2020).

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  • Posted on February 20, 2023