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Health Serv Manage Res. 2002 May;15(2):93-105.

The NHS Plan: nurse satisfaction, commitment and retention strategies.

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  • 1Middlesex University Business School, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK.


The NHS Plan envisages a paradigm shift from a centralized, producer-led National Health Service (NHS) to a devolved, patient-centred health care service, fuelled by a substantial investment in human resources, beds, hospitals and infrastructure. The planned net increase of 20,000 nurses by 2004 is examined in the light of findings from a qualitative study of nurse satisfaction, commitment or intention to leave their hospital, nursing or the NHS, involving 124 nurses in four London hospitals. This paper presents nurses' perceptions and rankings of retention strategies and we compare these with the Plan's proposals. Lastly we propose an integrated approach to examining and dealing with the complex issue of nurse recruitment, retention and quality of patient care, based on a conceptual framework, the Nurse Satisfaction, Service Quality and Nurse Retention Chain, which highlights the scope of the challenges confronting the Plan, in both design and implementation of proposals designed to improve working conditions as a foundation for nurse recruitment and retention. Our principal findings are that just 57% of our interviewees may be viewed as 'core loyals' to the profession, 12% are serious in their intention to leave and the remainder may be sensitive to further deterioration in working conditions or a failure to meet expectations on pay. Such findings if realized clearly threaten the Plan's success.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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