’Almost one in eight’ nurses leave Danish health service

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
’Almost one in eight’ nurses leave Danish health service
Nurses at Aalborg University Hospital during 2021 strike action. Over 13 percent of nurses left the Danish public health service over a one-year period. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Around 4,600 nurses left the Danish health service over one year from a total of 35,000, a loss of almost 14 percent of nurses in the public health system.


The nurses left the health service between November 2021 and 2022, according to an analysis by the “Benchmarking unit”, a division of the Ministry of the Interior and Health.

Nursing was not the only area of healthcare to suffer a major loss of personnel. Some 12,500 from 64,000 social healthcare staff – around 19.5 percent – also left their roles in the period in question.

For social care staff, those without formal training in the sector were more likely to leave their jobs than trained health staff.

The data in the Ministry of Health analysis were drawn from municipal salary records.


The analysis shows that the percentage of nurses leaving the sector annually has been over 10 percent every year since 2017. It has increased by 2.5 percent since 2020.

READ ALSO: Denmark scraps language test for nurses from non-EU countries

“The increase between 2020 and 2022 in departure percentage can be related to the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020-2022,” the analysis states.

“It could possibly also reflect the challenges by a staff shortage in the health and elderly care sector, but it could also be linked to the nurses’ strike in 2021 or the dissatisfaction among nurses that the strike represented,” it said.

READ ALSO: Danish hospitals lose nurses after summer 2021 strikes

It should be noted that the percentages do not necessarily reflect trends in the total number of nurses or care staff working in Denmark, because they do not account for those who joined the profession in the relevant periods.

Health authorities confirmed on Monday that nurses who come from or are trained in countries outside of the EU will no longer be required to pass a formal Danish language test for their qualifications to be authorised in Denmark.

The decision is part of broader measures aimed at addressing staff shortages and long waiting times in parts of the public health system.


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