Efficiency Research Programme

A programme involving research into ideas on the new ways of thinking that generate new knowledge, with a focus on labour productivity and workforce retention within health and social care


This programme is closed for applications.

  • The Efficiency Research Programme offered £1.8 million to innovative research ideas into issues of efficiency and sustainability that have the potential to make a transformational difference to health and social care provision in the UK.
  • Up to £500,000 was awarded to three experienced research teams for projects completed over three to five years.

The programme aimed to research ideas on the new ways of thinking that generate new knowledge, with a focus on labour productivity and workforce retention within health and social care. 


There were two key priority areas for this programme:

  1. Advance understanding of labour productivity in health and social care to bring about financial sustainability: exploring how innovative research can generate a more nuanced understanding of workforce productivity.
  2. Advance understanding of workforce retention in health and social care to bring about workforce sustainability: exploring the causality of enhanced retention on performance and patient care outcomes.


Each round of the programme had a specific focus.

The latest round of this programme focused on innovative research programmes that explore labour productivity and/or workforce retention in health and social care in a non-hospital setting (ie primary care and social care).

Projects primarily focused on generating new knowledge in secondary care, although some had an 'out of hospital care' focus.

Retention of the clinical and ambulance workforce in English NHS hospitals

Research project

Project that will carry out research into what drives hospital workforce retention, and its changes over time and across organisations and clinical specialties, and what the causal effects of improvin...

RoMHS (Retention of Mental Health Staff)

Research project

Research project to investigate variation in, and determinants of, mental health care staff retention, with the aim of better understanding how organisational contexts and the experiences of registere...

Quantifying health workers’ retention in primary care, its variability and association with outcomes

Research project

Research project examining how retention of GPs and nurses has changed over time, and mapping its regional variability, using databases of routinely collected administrative data.

Retention and sustainability of social care workforce (RESSCW)

Research project

Project to investigate the factors influencing low staff retention in UK social care, with the aim of improving understanding of the organisational and individual drivers of care staff retention, and ...

The impact of workforce turnover and temporary staff on productivity and health outcomes in the hospital sector

Research project

Research project that will investigate the relationship between NHS staff turnover and health service efficiency, with the aim of examining the impact of staff leaving or joining on productivity and h...

NuRS: Understanding Nurse Retention and its impact on patient Safety outcomes in secondary care and mental health

Research project

Research project that will explore the underlying drivers of nurse retention in the NHS, using 'big data’ techniques to analyse multiple variables and their effect on nurse retention, and the subseque...

Allocative efficiency in end-of-life care

Research project

This project will look at whether improvements in the efficiency of health and social care delivery at the end of life could enable access to higher-quality and more personalised care for patients.

WORKTECC: Workforce Operations that Realise Knowledge-based Transformational Efficiency gains in Community Care

Research project

This round two Efficiency Research project will explore whether workforce operations used by other industries can improve the efficiency of home-based NHS care, and if so, how.

Efficiency, cost and quality of mental health care provision

Research project

This project will look at the efficiency, cost and quality of current mental health care provision, and how changes can be made to drive efficiency improvements.

Health care technology diffusion in the NHS and workforce impact

Research project

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) team will investigate the effect that new health care technologies have on the NHS workforce. The overall aim of the project is to support ef...

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