One-year retention rates for nurses and midwives above UK average

The one-year retention rate for nurses and midwives is above the UK workforce average, according to analysis of the retention of public sector workers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Nine in 10 (92%) nurses and midwives stayed in their occupations between 2016 and 2017 compared to an average of 83% across the entire UK workforce.

Among public sector occupations, nursing and midwifery came second to only the police, which had the highest one-year retention rate at 94%. 

It came higher than all other healthcare professions, including a one-year retention rate of 92% for nurse assistants and 89% for doctors.

However, nursing and midwifery mirrors the slight drop seen across most of the larger public sector occupations compared to the period 2012 to 2013, when it retained 94% of its workforce.

The ONS noted that care workers saw a particularly ‘noticeable fall’ from one in eight (79%) in 2012 to 2013 to one in seven (67%) in 2016 to 2017. 

This is possibly due to more care workers being contracted to the private sector, they said.  

Unlike other public sector professions, nursing and midwifery showed the highest one-year retention rates in workers aged 18 to 35 at 96%.  

This was followed by retention rates in nurses and midwives aged 35 to 49 (91%) and aged 50 to 60 (90%). 

In contrast, the UK workforce average saw the lowest retention among those aged 18 to 34 (79%), with those aged 25 to 49 (87%) and 50 to 60 (86%) significantly higher.  

The ONS analysis follows the release of the NHS Interim People Plan earlier this year, which outlined ways to improve the retention of nurses.  

This includes beginning work to the extend the retention programme launched in 2017 into general practice by March 2020.  

On the findings, Anna Bodey, a migration analyst for the ONS, said: ‘Most of the larger public sector occupations, including doctors, nurses and midwives, and primary school teachers, have a one-year retention rate above the UK workforce average.  

‘One-year retention rates in the public sector were lower in 2016 to 2017 than they were in 2012 to 2013, with the biggest fall in rate for social workers and public sector care workers.’ 

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