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

University of Manchester

This project is under way, and will run until July 2022.

  • Run by the University of Manchester.
  • Research project examining how retention of GPs and nurses has changed over time, and mapping its regional variability.
  • Will use databases of routinely collected administrative data to analyse the association between retention and quality of care, unplanned hospital admissions and patient satisfaction.
  • Aiming to identify and quantify levels of retention so that regions and practices that are particularly vulnerable can be identified, which will inform policy-makers’ staffing decisions.

There is an ongoing crisis in the recruitment of GPs, and similar workforce concerns have been raised around general practice nurses. Recent promises of more GPs and medical graduates will not be enough to cover the emerging shortfall.

In light of recruitment problems, it is becoming increasingly important to retain existing practitioners. However, reports have raised concerns about retention trends, and Brexit may also have an impact, with primary care in England relying heavily on overseas-qualified GPs and nurses.

Improving retention rates will improve quality of care for patients and continuity of care, which is associated with better health outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction. However, very little is currently known about how retention rates have changed over time and how rates vary across the country.

This project aims to close the retention research gap using databases of routinely collected administrative data. It will examine retention for two key primary care professions: GPs and nurses.

Through this research, the project team aims to provide a blueprint of the use of existing databases in investigating retention and examine the quality of existing data. Metrics of retention will be defined and predictors of retention identified, including quantifying the role of external factors.

Retention levels and trends will be quantified, nationally and regionally, and the team will examine the association between retention and future patient outcomes. Regions and practices with characteristics that make them particularly vulnerable to retention problems will also be identified. All of this information will help policy-makers and primary care managers begin to address retention problems.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Evangelos Kontopantelis, Professor in Data Science and Health Services Research, University of Manchester.

About this programme

Programme

Efficiency Research Programme

This programme awarded £1.8 million to three research teams for projects looking into issues of efficiency and sustainability...

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