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Correction to media article about the number of nurses employed from overseas

December 18, 2014

A number of national newspapers have today reported on research by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) about the number of nurses employed from outside of the UK.

We would like to clarify that HSCIC data used by the HSJ alongside its own research have been used in an inaccurate way.

HSJ's own research, based on requests to NHS trusts, shows 5,778 new nurses were employed from overseas during 2013-14. This figure has then been divided by a HSCIC statistic of 7,111, the net change of full-time equivalent nurses who joined the service between September 2013 and March 2014.

These two figures have been used to calculate the percentage of new nurses who were employed from overseas.

This calculation is not valid for several reasons:

  • The HSCIC figure of 7,111 covers a six month time period, rather than a twelve month period we understand HSJ has used for its 5,778 figure.
  • The HSCIC figure is a change in the number of nurses working in the NHS between two given points in time and so represents the difference between joiners and leavers
  • 7,111 represents the full-time equivalent (FTE) - which takes the total hours worked by all staff including part time nurses to calculate how many full time workers this total would equate to. The HSJ figure of 5,778 seems to be based on a headcount of nurses - which means the total count of part time and full time workers. Headcount is normally a higher figure than FTE.
  • The two figures have been collected separately, using different methods, and are therefore not directly comparable.

HSCIC has run similar figures from the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) using the joiners with known nationalities to the English NHS for two time periods covering qualified nursing, midwifery & health visiting staff.

These data show;

Of all the joiners with a known nationality between April 2013 to April 2014, 20.8 per cent (6,704 out of 32,251) were non-British;

Similarly, of all the joiners with a known nationality between September 2013 to September 2014, 22.0 per cent (7,449 out of 33,838) were non-British.

*Please note totals are unlikely to equal the sum of components due to some staff working in more than one role, and there is the possibility of some staff classifying themselves with multiple nationalities.

Letters of complaint to National Editors from Chair, Kingsley Manning and Chief Executive Andy Williams

Daily Mail pdf icon Ltr to Paul Dacre (Daily Mail) - 19 December 2014 [164kb]

Daily Telegraph pdf icon Ltr to Chris Evans (Daily Telegraph) - 19 December 2014 [160kb] 

Health Service Journal pdf icon Ltr to Alastair McLellan (HSJ) - 19 December 2014 [156kb]

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