UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences


NHS staff retention to be investigated in new study

19 April 2024

At a time when NHS staffing has never been more important, a team of researchers from UCL, NIHR and Leicester Biomedical Research Centre will determine which ethnic groups are at greatest risk of leaving the NHS in 2024.

Slightly blurred image of health professions hurrying through a health setting

The I-CARE study 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, with the aim of improving retention.

Professor Manish Pareek, one of the lead researchers on the study from the University of Leicester, 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 Katherine Woolf, one of the lead researchers on the study from UCL Medical School, said: “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 policymakers, staff and patients that encourage valued colleagues to stay.”

The I-CARE study team also includes researchers from the Ethox Centre at Oxford Population Health, the University of Surrey, the University of Glasgow and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust.

Further information