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2006 NHS workforce census shows increase in clinical capacity

26 April 2007

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The 2006 NHS workforce census shows an increase in fulltime equivalent capacity (FTE) for doctors and nurses and a fall in managers, with an overall reduction in the NHS headcount of 17,000 since September 2005.

The census shows that although the headcount of the NHS has reduced slightly overall, clinical capacity continues to increase as fulltime equivalents go up. For example, there is a strong continued growth in the medical workforce, with an increase in headcount of 3,267 since 2005 – 4,844 FTEs.

The workforce census also shows a shift of staff towards primary care, with the census showing an increase of GPs, practice staff, school nurses and community matrons.

The figures were released today (Thursday 26 April 2007) in the Information Centre’s annual workforce census. NHS Workforce: Staff in the NHS 1996–2006.

For the first time since 1995, there has been a reduction in headcount among managers of 2,564, FTE of 2,508. The figures point to a cut in bureaucracy as managers account for less than 3% of the total workforce, compared with nurses who make up more than a quarter.

Despite the small fall in headcount, the NHS still employs more than 279,000 additional people than it did in 1997, and overall capacity has increased from 846,298 FTEs to 1,095,164.

Health Minister Lord Hunt said: “This year’s workforce census shows that there has been an increase in clinical capacity despite a small reduction in the overall numbers working in the NHS.

“These figures show that the NHS focus is now on strengthening frontline clinical capacity, through increases in productivity and skill mix.”