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Number of NHS workers drops by 3,000 in one year

22 March 2013

The NHS is one of the biggest workforces in the world and is hugely important to the UK health service and the wider public.

However, recent statistics have shown that the number of NHS employees has declined by more than 3,000 in just one year.

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According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) 1,358,295 people were working for the NHS in England last September, representing a significant decrease of 3,238 compared to the same time in 2011.

The figures revealed that there were marked decreases in the number of hospital and community health service nurses, clinical support and infrastructure staff including managers.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “The annual census provides a snapshot of one of the biggest workforces in the world and is of great significance to not just the health service and policy-makers but also the wider public.

“Today's figures show an overall fall in staff numbers over the latest year, with decreases for nurses and support staff.”

However, he added that there are currently around 200,000 more people working for the NHS in England compared to a decade ago.

This follows news from last month that the NHS could be contending with a deficit of almost 200,000 nurses in just three years’ time.

A government-commissioned report by Nursing Times warned that demand for nurses could dangerously outstrip supply by 2016, which has been blamed on the 12.7% cut last year in the number of nurse training places at universities (equivalent to 2,500 places).

In the worst case scenario, the gap between supply and demand will widen year-on-year, potentially resulting in an overall shortage of around 190,000 registered nurses by 2016.

This would see demand for registered nurses rising from 600,000 staff in 2011 to 700,000 in 2016 – but supply will drop from around 570,000 to 510,000.

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