Allied health professionals' intention to work for the National Health Service: a study of stayers, leavers and returners

Health Serv Manage Res. 2010 May;23(2):47-53. doi: 10.1258/hsmr.2009.009019.


While there has been a recent squeeze on staff costs, it continues to be important to offer graduating clinical staff National Health Service (NHS) employment in order to maintain the long-term strength of the service. In addition, the experiences of the Canadian nursing profession suggest that complacency about an improving recruitment situation can lead to problems. Consequently, the objective of this study was to identify what influences allied health professionals' (AHPs) intention to work for the NHS. A postal survey was sent to members of four Allied Health Professions equally (N = 4800), targeting Stayers in, Leavers from, and Returners to, the NHS. One thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine questionnaires were returned giving an overall response rate of 40%. Stayers' intention to remain in the NHS was influenced by continuing professional development opportunities, confidence that they can find NHS work, commitment to their profession, a sense of moral obligation and a belief that other people important to them think it is a good idea. Returners' intention is influenced by similar factors as Stayers. Leavers are influenced by similar factors as Stayers/Returners but to a lesser extent. The study shows that perceptions of various NHS work characteristics, which lead to reasonably positive attitudes towards the NHS, do not necessarily translate into intention to work for it. The study also shows that intention to work for the NHS is not solely dependent on perceptions of NHS jobs and that career-decision-making is a social process, with the opinions of people who are important to AHPs also influencing career decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allied Health Personnel*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personnel Loyalty*
  • State Medicine*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult