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Nearly a fifth of NHS staff will leave as soon as they find work

Nearly a fifth of NHS staff will leave as soon as they find work
By Jess Hacker
10 March 2023

Nearly a fifth (17.3%) of NHS staff have said they will leave their organisation ‘as soon as they can find another job’, the annual NHS staff survey has indicated.

This figure has jumped the highest among ambulance staff, with the number wanting to leave as soon as possible rising to 24% from 16.8% in 2020.

And nearly a quarter (23%) of NHS staff said they will probably look for work at a new organisation in the next year, with a third (32.3%) saying they often think about leaving their job.

The annual report – which was carried out in autumn 2022 – surveys staff in all roles across all 215 trusts in England.

It comes after a prolonged period of strike action in the health and social care sector, with nurses, ambulance workers and junior doctors all striking, or voting to strike, over pay and conditions.

The staff survey also identified that:

  • Only 25.6% of staff were satisfied with their level of pay
  • Only 42.9% felt they were able to meet all the conflicting demands presented to them at work
  • Just over half (55.6%) said they have adequate resources to do their job
  • A quarter (26.4%) felt their organisation had enough staff to carry out their job.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: ‘It is of course concerning to see that 17% of staff considering leaving for another job will do so as soon as they find one and that, despite the continuing efforts of health leaders to recruit and retain employees, the numbers of those willing to recommend the NHS as an employer has also dropped.  This is reinforced by the responses to staff satisfaction on pay.

He added: ‘NHS leaders are urgently calling for the government to invest in a long promised and much overdue workforce plan and to detail how they will fill these gaps. Until staff know help is coming, their overall satisfaction with the NHS will not improve.’

Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation, said: ‘Findings from today’s NHS staff survey suggest that many working in the NHS are burnt out and feel unable to do their jobs properly due to staff shortages.

‘Working in an environment of constant and unrelenting pressure has unsurprisingly taken its toll on staff wellbeing. This is also illustrated through the latest NHS performance statistics where A&E pressures in particular show little sign of abating, highlighting the strain felt across health and social care services.’

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