Nurses are quitting the NHS for Lidl due to better pay and conditions

Research suggests that the NHS is short of 42,855 nurses, 11,187 doctors and 12,219 healthcare support workers.

Ian Snug
2 July 2018

Nurses are leaving the NHS seeking better pay and work-life balance.

Despite a shortage of 40,000 nurses in England, nurses are reportedly leaving the profession in search of a better lifestyle.


Research undertaken in 2017 suggests that the NHS is short of 42,855 nurses, 11,187 doctors and 12,219 healthcare support workers with those leaving the NHS citing their reasons as; real-terms pay cuts, low morale, chronic understaffing, uncertainty over Brexit and a poor work-life balance.

Despite ministerial pledges to boost the workforce, official figures have failed to rise.

According to Indeed, the low-cost supermarket pays a graduate manager an average salary of £36,842 per year while a newly qualified nurse starts on just £23,023.

‘My morale was so low, I couldn’t take it anymore’.

A former nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, told the TheLondonEconomic; “Since I was a child I wanted to be a nurse and help care for people. I went straight into nursing from school. I knew it wasn’t the best-paid career, but I thought it would be worthwhile and I’d be making a difference.


“Sadly, it got to the point where my morale was so low, I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Lots of my colleagues were leaving the profession, going home or joining nursing companies. There weren’t enough nurses on the ward, so we couldn’t do our jobs very well. Patients would just complain at us all day because they weren’t getting the attention they needed.

“Everything’s going up and it’s harder and harder to make ends meet. We’re never able to treat ourselves or go on holiday. Everything I buy for my daughter is second hand including her school uniform.

“A new Lidl opened up near the end of my road so I applied and got the job. It means I don’t need to drive to work anymore, where I was even charged for parking.


“The best thing is my hours are a lot more sociable. Pay is around the same level, but I get ten percent off my shopping and I’ve sold my car, which saves a lot of money. Overall I’m slightly better off, but I have much, much less stress”

Nurses are spread too thinly.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has previously said on the issue; “Nurses are spread too thinly and starting to blow the whistle on falling standards. Hospital wards and care homes alike increasingly rely on unregistered healthcare assistants, especially at night. 

“The NHS has never been busier and yet it is haemorrhaging experienced nurses quicker than it can find new ones. A lethal cocktail of pressure inside the NHS and falling pay has left people heading for the door. The NHS advertises for nurses but, too often, new uniforms stay in the box.

“It is time to draw a line under this false economy with a new law and investment in nurse education. We need legislation that makes Ministers and others accountable for proper workforce planning and safe and effective staffing levels.”

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