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Factors associated with staff retention in the NHS acute sector

Why do consultants, nurses and midwives, and healthcare assistants leave?

A stethoscope around the neck of someone in a white coat

Today sees the publication of research examining factors involved in the leaving decisions of staff in the NHS acute sector. Conducted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as part of its collaboration with the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King's, the research entailed analysing how a range of individual staff characteristics, regional economic conditions and trust characteristics are associated with whether individual staff members decide to leave the sector.

Elaine Kelly, George Stoye and Max Warner used the Electronic Staff Record, the monthly payroll of the NHS, to analyse how much of the variation in retention rates between NHS acute trusts can be explained by these characteristics, and to examine which factors were associated with the leaving decisions of medical consultants, nurses and midwives, and healthcare assistants between 2012 and 2021.

The authors introduce the report and summarize the findings on the IFS site, and in an IFS Observation they note that much of the variation in trust-level leaving rates remains unexplained. The report (pdf) is available here.

The project is the third the IFS has conducted as part of its collaboration with the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce, the prior ones being on 

This publication

Kelly, E., Stoye, G., & Warner, M. (2022) Factors associated with staff retention in the NHS acute sector, London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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Elaine Kelly

Elaine Kelly

Deputy Director, NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce

George Stoye

George Stoye

Deputy Director, NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce

Max Warner

Max Warner

Research Economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies