NHS workforce: annual census shows slight fall in headcount in the last year

  • But nearly 200,000 more staff than a decade ago

Regional information available from this report

The number of people working for the NHS in England has fallen slightly in the last year, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) figures show.

Nearly 1.36 million people (1,358,295) were working for the NHS in England at 30 September 2012 – a 0.2 per cent (3,238) decrease on the same time in 2011.

However, the latest headcount represents an increase of approximately 200,000 (16.9 per cent) compared to a decade ago (1,161,483 in 2002) with an average annual increase over the period of 1.6 per cent.

Today’s annual census reports cover staff working in hospital, community, general and personal medical services and show an increase in most clinical staff categories in the year to September 2012. However, there were decreases in the number of hospital and community health service (HCHS) nurses, clinical support and infrastructure staff, including managers.

HSCIC today also publishes its routine provisional monthly figures - to December 2012 - for key HCHS staff groups. These figures show most trends over the year to 30 September 2012, as reflected in the annual census report, have continued to December 2012. The exception is HCHS nurses and clinical support staff, which have subsequently increased.

Today’s figures show that, at 30 September 2012:

Support staff:

  • NHS infrastructure support staff numbers stood at 215,071, representing a decrease of 4,553 (2.1 per cent) since 2011, but an increase of 25,797 (13.6 per cent) since 2002 (an average annual increase of 1.3 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show a further decrease of 710 (0.3 per cent) since September 2012.

-       Of these staff, managers and senior managers stood at 37,314, representing a decrease of 900 (2.4 per cent) since 2011, but an increase of 5,020 (15.5 per cent) since 2002 (an average annual increase of 1.5 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show a further decrease of 112 (0.3 per cent) since September 2012.

  • Clinical support staff stood at 343,927, representing a decrease of 3,137 (0.9 per cent) since 2011 but an increase of 31,196 (10.0 per cent) since 2002 (an average annual increase of 1.0 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show an increase of 731 (0.2 per cent) since September 2012.

Professionally qualified clinical staff:

This group stood at 687,810, representing an increase of 1,063 (0.2 per cent) since 2011 but a 115,281 (20.1 per cent) increase since 2002 (an average annual increase of 1.9 per cent). Of these staff:

  • Hospital and community health service medical and dental staff stood at 107,242, representing a 1,531 increase (1.4 per cent) since 2011 and a 30,211 (39.2 per cent) increase since 2002 (an average annual increase of 3.4 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show a further increase of 365 (0.3 per cent) since September 2012.

-       Of these, consultant numbers stood at 40,394, a 1,306 (3.3 per cent) increase since 2011 and a 13,324 (49.2 per cent) increase since 2002 (an average annual increase of 4.1 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show a further increase of 316 (0.8 per cent) since September 2012.

  • Hospital and community health service qualified nurses stood at 346,410, representing a 2,283 (0.7 per cent) decrease since 2011 but a 31,531 (10.0 per cent) increase since 2002 (an average annual increase of 1.0 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 show an increase of 2,585 (0.7 per cent) since September 2012.

  • Scientific, technical and therapeutic staff stood at 153,472, representing an increase of 1,256 (0.8 per cent) since 2011 and a 36,874 (31.6 per cent) increase since 2002 (an average annual increase of 2.8 per cent). Provisional figures for December 2012 showed a further increase of 943 (0.6 per cent) since September 2012.

  • In primary care, GP numbers stood at 40,265, a 485 (1.2 per cent) increase on 2011 and an increase of 7,973 (24.7 per cent) since 2002 (an average annual increase of 2.2 per cent).

Health and Social Care Information Centre 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, if we consider these figures compared to a decade ago, there are now about 200,000 more people working for the NHS in England.”

Full copies of the reports are available at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/nhsworkforce

Ends

Note to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was formerly known as the NHS Information Centre for health and social care. It is England's authoritative, central, independent source of health and social care information. It works with a wide range of health and social care providers nationwide to provide the facts and figures that help the NHS and social services run effectively. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports users including academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work. The HSCIC also produces a wide range of statistical publications each year across a number of areas including: primary care, health and lifestyles, screening, hospital care, population and geography, social care and workforce and pay statistics.
  2. All workforce census numbers are for 30 September 2012. All workforce census changes are for 30 September 2011 to 30 September 2012 or 30 September 2002 to 2012 and refer to headcount unless stated otherwise. All provisional monthly workforce figures indicate a change from 30th September 2012 to 31st December 2012. Provisional monthly figures for 30 September 2012 to 31 December 2012 are not available for Primary Care Staff including GPs, or Practice staff.
  3. Figures no longer include bank staff, all figures have been adjusted to show data excluding bank (publications prior to 2011 included bank staff).
  4. Introduced in 2010, the headcount figures are based on a new methodology which is not fully comparable with previous years’ figures. This methodology aligns the headcount figures across the 3 publications, listed in note 6 below, so all headcount figures are now calculated in exactly the same way. The new methodology is also consistent with the headcount figures already in use within the provisional monthly HCHS workforce publication which has been published in this format since July 2010. The current headcount methodology cannot be applied to years prior to 2010. Increases since 2002 are therefore likely to be slightly understated, but the impact on these figures of the change of methodology will be small.
  5. Headcount refers to the total number of staff in both part-time and full-time employment. The main difference for the annual census from 2010 is that headcount figures are a more precise count of absolute staff numbers as the methodology has changed from counting all contracts and job roles in different Trusts to one of counting unique individuals, where this is possible (for example, a nurse working for more than one Trust). This results in duplicate individuals being removed at every level so when totalling, duplication is removed therefore the headcount total will typically be less than the sum of its component parts. There will remain, as in previous years, some potential duplication between HCHS and Practice Staff.
  6. In 2012, due to an improved Practice Staff collection form and Data Quality process, over 90% of GP practices provided a return. Figures for the remaining GP practices were estimated to give a full census figure. The same methodology has been applied retrospectively to figures for 2010 and 2011 and the published data has been revised to enable full comparability for a 3 year time series, but it has not been possible to estimate earlier years. Details of the estimation process for Practice Staff can be found in the methodology section of the Census bulletin. This means that the comparison with years prior to 2010 for total NHS staff will be slightly overstated for this reason, but the impact will be small.
  7. This annual publication presents the results from three censuses monitoring the NHS workforce as at 30th September 2012. The statistical publication takes the format of a summary document and three Statistical Bulletins: two covering Hospital and Community Services (Medical and Dental staff; and Non-medical staff); and one covering General and Personal Medical Services. These data do not include high street dentists and ophthalmic practitioners which are covered in other publications: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/primary-careNor do they include Social Care which is covered in the publications at
  8. http://www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/social-care The HSCIC has also issued a Data Quality Statement with this publication http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/nhsworkforce as required by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
  9. HCHS Medical and Dental staff are all hospital and community doctors (excluding GPs) with a medical and dental specialty.
  10. Bank and agency staff are excluded.
  11. Staff in support to clinical staff includes the following sub groups;
  12. Support to doctors and nursing - such as nursery nurses, healthcare assistants, clerical and administrative staff working specifically in clinical areas such as medical secretaries, and maintenance and works staff specifically identified as supporting clinical areas;
  13. Support to cientific, therapeutic and technical (ST&T) staff – such as ST&T trainees, healthcare assistants, clerical and administrative staff and maintenance and works staff specifically identified as supporting the ST&T group;
  14. Support to ambulance staff – such as trainee ambulance technicians, clerical and administrative staff and maintenance and works staff specifically identified as supporting the ambulance service.
  15. NHS infrastructure support includes the following sub groups; managers and senior managers, central functions (such as personnel, finance, IT, legal services and library services), and hotel, property and estates (such as laundry, catering, caretakers and domestic services).
  16. For media enquiries please call 0845 257 6990 or email mediaenquiries@ic.nhs.uk

Subscribe