Investigating the quitting decision of nurses: Panel data evidence from the British National Health Service

Paul Frijters, Michael A Shields, Stephen Wheatley Price

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48 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we provide a detailed investigation into the quitting behaviour of nurses in the British National Health Service (NHS), using a recently constructed longitudinal survey. We fit both single and competing risks duration models that enable us to establish the characteristics of those nurses who leave the public sector, distinguish the importance of pay in this decision and document the destinations that nurses move to. Contrary to expectations, we find that the hourly wage received by nurses outside of the NHS is around 20 lower than in the NHS, and that hours of work are about the same. However, while the effect of wages is found to be statistically significant, the predicted impact of an increase in nurses pay on retention rates is small. The current nurse retention problem in the NHS is therefore unlikely to be eliminated through substantially increased pay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57 - 73
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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