Friday, March 14, 2008

More doctors and nurses in NHS

More doctors and nurses in NHS

The number of doctors and nurses in the NHS has increased in the past year, but the number of support staff has fallen, official figures reveal.
The number of professionally qualified clinical staff, such as consultants and midwives, has increased by 6,600 since 2006, the NHS Information Centre said.

But there are 11,000 fewer clinical support staff, which includes nursing assistants and administrators.

The government said they would recruit more staff where they were needed.

Currently more than 1.3m staff are employed by the NHS.

It means more expertise at the frontline

Tim Straughan, NHS Information Centre

Last year, a committee of MPs warned there had been a "disastrous failure" of long-term NHS workforce planning.

It came after leaked Department of Health planning documents showed there would be a shortage of GPs and nurses and too many hospital consultants in four years time.

Overall the NHS workforce dropped by 0.6% between September 2006 and September 2007 the census data showed.

The number of managers fell for the second year running, but by less than 1%.

In 2007, there were more doctors than ever before - 2,000 more than in 2006.

The number of midwives has also risen by 2.6% to more than 25,000.

There were smaller increases in the numbers of nurses and GPs, the figures showed.

But the number of nursing assistants and auxiliary staff dropped by 7.7%.


NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said the increase in clinical staff was good news.

"It means more expertise at the frontline."

Health Minister Ann Keen said: "What matters to patients is that the right staff are in place to deliver personalised services to the highest standard.

"Of course, where more staff are needed we will recruit them."

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the increase in midwives but said rapidly rising birth rates were swamping staff.

"Our latest figures also show that almost half of all midwives are set to retire over the next decade.

"The government are committed to bringing 4,000 extra midwives into the NHS by 2012, and we want to see recruitment of midwives by trusts treated as a priority, and accelerated and sustained."

A spokesperson from the Royal College of Nursing said it was concerned about falling numbers of nursing support staff and were consulting members on the issue.


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