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Workplace violence and intention to quit in the English NHS

Serra-Sastre, V. ORCID: 0000-0002-6329-4507 (2024). Workplace violence and intention to quit in the English NHS. Social Science & Medicine, 340, article number 116458. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116458


NHS job vacancies remain at record levels and an increasing number of staff are leaving the NHS. Work-related violence is an aspect that has received little attention as a possible driving force in dropout rates among NHS workforce. Recent figures indicate that approximately 15% of NHS staff had experienced physical violence while at work (NHS Staff Survey, 2022). Given the prevalence of abuse and the consequences it may have on staff wellbeing, we examine the impact of workplace violence on intention to quit the organisation. We employ data from the NHS Staff Survey, a rich dataset that records the experience and views of staff working in the NHS. We use data from 2018 to 2022 of NHS employees surveyed in all NHS acute hospitals, with a sample size of 1,814,120 observations. We study the impact of experiencing physical or verbal violence in the workplace on the intention to quit the organization, examining differences according to perpetrator type. Our analysis also sheds light on any aggravated effect the pandemic had on intention to leave for those exposed to violence. The results suggest that experiencing physical violence increases the intention to leave by 10 percentage points. The effect of verbal violence is quantitatively greater in magnitude, increasing intention to leave by 21 percentage points. Violence from managers has the largest detrimental effect, followed by exposure to violence from multiple perpetrators and violence from colleagues. Heterogeneous effects exist according to occupational group, gender, age and ethnicity. The pandemic only had a marginal contribution to these effects. Staff health, trust in management and quality of patient care are some of the possible mechanisms through which violence influences the intention to quit. Overall, the results suggest that targeted interventions are needed to improve retention after exposure to violence.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.
Publisher Keywords: intention to quit, physical violence, verbal abuse, propensity score matching, Covid-19, difference-in-difference estimator
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
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Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


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