‘Come and work here!’

‘Come and work here!’


Recruitment and retention of healthcare staff in rural and remote areas is a challenge for health services. Much of the focus of research in this area has been on work organisation and practitioners themselves. However there has been less focus on the experiences of the people in remote and rural communities and what they themselves can do to attract staff. Some communities have experimented proactively with initiatives to promote their local area; to get involved in the recruitment and selection process; and to welcome and integrate new health professionals and their family members into local life. These community-led initiatives are often ad hoc and undocumented; there is potential learning about what has worked and what has been less successful that remains untapped.

This project has been suggested by the public research partners on our current CSO study on recruitment and retention in remote and rural areas as a way to capture this learning. 


To improve recruitment and retention of healthcare practitioners in remote and rural areas


  1. To explore the experiences of remote and rural communities of trying to attract healthcare staff to their area
  2. To map local context and describe initiatives undertaken to improve recruitment
  3. To understand how community initiatives have been received by staff who have been recruited and their families
  4. To assess which initiatives seem to have been most successful (or not) and why
  5. To provide resources for other communities and the NHS based on this learning


This study will use a qualitative case study design.

  1. We will identify 6 diverse remote and rural communities, 3 in Scotland and 3 in England. In each we will conduct an initial site visit and community focus group to identify, describe and categorise different types of community-led recruitment and retention initiatives.
  2. We will then conduct In-depth interviews with up to 30 people who have been involved in designing recruitment and retention initiatives in these areas, and staff and family members who have been the intended audience of such initiatives.
  3. Alongside this work we will collect and analyse examples of job adverts and recruitment campaigns from across the UK


We will develop a repository of initiatives and suggestions for other local communities and the NHS.

This study is funded by NIHR (award number 133888) and is a collaboration with University of Newcastle.



Completed - Final report submission to NIHR November 2023