Be Well Work Well: A longitudinal cohort study to understand and improve health and social care staff wellbeing and retention


There is a workforce crisis in health and social care in the UK, with rising levels of anxiety, exhaustion, stress and burnout among staff: NHS staff are, for example, 50% more likely than the general working population to experience chronic stress according to The King’s Fund. There are also challenges in recruiting the right staff and many leave the sector, resulting in services with unsafe staffing levels. In 2023 there was an 8% vacancy rate across the NHS workforce, and a vacancy rate of 9.9% in adult social care. A shortfall of between 260,000 and 360,000 NHS staff is forecast by 2036/37.
It’s essential to tackle these issues if we want safe, high quality health and social care services, staffed by people who feel supported and engaged. In response, we’re working with health and social care employers in Bradford District and Craven to develop a system that works to improve staff experience of work and increase retention. This is called a learning health system: a way of working that uses data as part of ‘business as usual’ to learn and improve. We will recruit new starters, requesting consent to access employment information, and asking staff to provide additional information over time too. We’ll feedback information in anonymised, user-friendly reports addressing the questions that staff and organisations say are most important. This information will stimulate co-designed and evidence-based interventions to improve the lives of people working in our health and care systems. Our broad findings will also inform policy-makers in their work.   
Ultimately, the impact we seek is for staff to ‘be well and work well’ through improved wellbeing and reductions in those staff intending to leave and those actually leaving employment in participating organisations.


Currently Underway

Team Contact:

Dr Lynn McVey, Senior Research Fellow

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