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Vacancies for doctors and nurses up for first time in five years

7 August 2009

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Long-term vacancies for hospital doctors and nurses have risen for the first time in five years, according to the NHS Information Centre.

It reports that managers in most areas are struggling to fill posts, with one in five still vacant after three months or more.

On 31 March, total vacancies for doctors and dentists, excluding trainees, rose from 3.6% last year to 5.2%. Long-term vacancies (of three months or more) rose from from 0.9% to 1.5%.

For GPs in England, the total went from 1.2% to 1.6%, with long-term vacancy levels remaining static. In Wales, the total vacancies rose 0.6% to 2.2%, with long-term vacancies rising 0.2% to 0.9%.

The total for nurses rose from 2.5% to 3.1%, with long-term vacancies rising from 0.5% to 0.7%. In London, long-term vacancies were up from 1.2% to 1.6%.

Meanwhile, total vacancies for psychiatric nurses fell, although long-term vacancies rose from 0.6% to 0.9%. For midwives, the total went from 2.1% to 3.4%, long-term from 0.8% to 1%.

Says Health Minister Ann Keen: “The focus now is on improving productivity through smarter working practices and ensuring staff have the support that need to continue to deliver effective and efficient services.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Information Centre