NHS staff retention to be investigated in new study

Professor Manish Pareek

At a time when staffing the NHS effectively has never been more important, a team of researchers is seeking to understand which ethnic groups are at greatest risk of leaving the NHS in 2024, with the aim of improving retention.

Through the I-CARE study, researchers at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and University College London (UCL) will investigate the contexts and reasons why staff from some ethnic groups are more likely to stay, or leave the NHS workforce, compared to white British groups.

One of the lead researchers on the study, the University of Leicester’s Professor Manish Pareek, said: “The NHS is in a workforce crisis compounded by post-pandemic pressures. Nearly a quarter of staff are from ethnic minority groups, including 42% of doctors and 90% of nurses in the lowest grade, but we lack post-pandemic evidence about which groups are at greatest risk of leaving and why.”

Professor of Medical Education Research at UCL Medical School, Katherine Woolf, added: “We will be looking at HR and staff survey data, as well as the results from data collected over the last four years from the UK-REACH study of UK healthcare workers to look for and understand any trends.

“We’ll also carry out new interviews and focus groups with staff and NHS managers, with the ultimate aim of developing interventions with NHS policy-makers, staff and patients that encourage valued colleagues to stay.”

The I-CARE study team also includes researchers the universities of Oxford, Surrey and Glasgow and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

“Professor Carol Woodhams at the University of Surrey added:” We are delighted to have been invited to join the team and continue our work analysing large NHS databases to shed light on the issue.”

The NIHR Leicester BRC is part of the NIHR and hosted by the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in partnership with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group. The Leicester Real World Evidence Unit is part of the Leicester Diabetes Centre.