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

  • Run by London School of Economics and Political Science, in collaboration with City, University of London.
  • Research project that will investigate the relationship between NHS staff turnover and health service efficiency.
  • Aiming to examine the impact of staff leaving or joining on productivity and health outcomes, and determine whether reliance on temporary staff is cost effective.
  • Will analyse recent NHS Digital data on Hospital Episodes Statistics, turnover and bank staff.

Staff retention in the NHS has become a challenge. Recent figures show an increasing trend in nurse shortages and a relatively high turnover for nurses and other medical staff. It is important to assess the costs of these changes in the NHS workforce and their impact on health care service delivery.

This project will focus on whether staff decisions to join or leave an NHS organisation have a disruptive effect on operational efficiency and patients’ health outcomes.

A team of economics researchers based at London School of Economics and Political Science, and City, University of London, plan to use the most recently available data on Hospital Episodes Statistics, turnover and bank staff from NHS Digital to investigate the relationship between turnover and efficiency.

First, they will focus on determining changes in productivity and patient health due to workforce turnover. This analysis will differentiate between internal moves (across NHS trusts) and external moves to or from non-NHS organisations, and consider how the effects are influenced by clinical staff group (nurse or doctor), grade and specialty

Second, the impact of bank staff on hospital productivity and health outcomes will be analysed to determine whether reliance on this temporary staff group is cost effective.

Given the current lack of evidence-based research in health and social care on whether staff turnover worsens productivity and patient health, the results of this study have the potential to make a significant contribution to NHS workforce planning and efficiency improvement.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Alistair McGuire, Chair in Health Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science.

About this programme

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