NHS staff turnover falls to lowest ever level

Staff turnover in the NHS has fallen to its lowest ever recorded level, an annual study has revealed.

The figure of 11.8% for 2005/06 is the lowest recorded since NHS Partnersan agency working in the health service, started its annual study of sickness absence and staff turnover levels 10 years ago.

NHS staff turnover was 17.1% in 1995/96 and it has fallen steadily since then. The fall in the overall staff turnover rate, from 14.2% in 2004/05, combined with decreases in turnover levels for nearly all individual staff groups, may reflect the recent downturn in recruitment activity, the study said.

However, NHS Partners also believes the implementation of Agenda for Change may have had an impact as staff opted to remain in their posts in anticipation of the outcome of the new pay system.

Sickness absence rates have also fallen but the downward trend is less dramatic. The rate of 4.6% for 2005/06 is down slightly from 4.8% in 2004/05.

The study said the decline in the absence rate may reflect better understanding of absence management. The survey suggested that nearly all NHS organisations had written absence management policies and provided their line managers with training on the management of absence.

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