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NHS workforce: new analysis shows NHS workforce figures over time

-New methodology and analysis reflects the way health and care now delivered

All figures are in Full Time Equivalent (FTE).3 Regional information and headcount figures are available for this report. HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures.

30 March, 2016: The number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE)3 staff working in the NHS4 in England has increased by 1.8 per cent (18,300) since 2014, figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

1.05 million FTE staff were working for NHS Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) in England at 30 September 2015, compared to 1.03 million in 2014. These figures cover staff working in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs),5 Central Bodies and support to NHS.

The Healthcare Workforce Statistics - September 2015, England, Experimental report provides a snapshot of staff providing health care to patients. It allows for year-on-year comparison from 2009.

Following a consultation with health and care workers, NHS organisations and data users, the methodology and analysis of the data have been revised to better reflect the way that NHS care is delivered following the introduction of the Health and Social Care Act in 2012. The Act resulted in some staff moving from the NHS to partnership organisations that also deliver care and other staff moving to Central Bodies and support to NHS.

The Electronic Staff Record (ESR) payment system remains the key source of data about HCHS staff. This has been used to produce statistics since 2009 and as a result statisticians have been able to retrospectively apply the new methodology to data collected since this date, allowing for comparisons over time.

For the first time the report provides a snapshot of the number of staff that provide and commission patient care locally within NHS Trusts and CCGs and separates them from NHS staff that work within central and support NHS bodies.

The methodology also identifies those staff that may be contracted to an organisation but have not worked any hours during the recording period, and excludes these individuals from the analysis.

The new report also presents the number of staff working in the independent sector healthcare workforce6, some of which are providing NHS commissioned services.

These new developments have been implemented to improve the scope and accuracy of the data in order to best support workforce planning within the NHS.

Today's figures show that at 30 September 2015, for staff working for NHS Trusts and CCGs,7, 8 there were 1.01 million staff compared to 0.99 million in 2014. For these staff:

  • The number of professionally qualified clinical staff9 stood at 553,000 FTE, an increase of 1.2 per cent (6,520) since 2014 and an increase of 4.5 per cent (24,000) on 2009.
  • There were 51,300 FTE hospital doctors in training10, a decrease of 0.5 per cent (256) on 2014 and an increase of 4.2 per cent (2,060) on 2009.
  • Consultant numbers stood at 42,900 FTE, an increase of 3.9 per cent (1,610) on 2014 and an increase of 22.5 per cent (7,900) since 2009.
  • Nurses and health visitors stood at 281,000 FTE an increase of 0.9 per cent (2,500) on 2014 and 1.1 per cent (3,000) increase on 2009.
  • There were 20,900 FTE midwives, an increase of 0.5 per cent (96) since 2014, and an increase of 10.4 per cent (1,980) since 2009.
  • There were 299,000 FTE staff providing support to clinical staff11 an increase of 3.3 per cent (9,550) on 2014 and an increase of 5.4 per cent (15,500) on 2009.
  • NHS infrastructure support staff12 stood at 158,000 FTE, an increase of 2.5 per cent (3,820) on 2014 and a 14.7 per cent (27,300) decrease on 2009.

Of this group:

            o Managers stood at 20,300, an increase of 6.5 per cent (1,240) on 2014 and a decrease of 21.0 per cent (5,400) on 2009.

            o Senior managers stood at 9,260, an increase of 5.3 per cent (466) on 2014 and a decrease of 22.1 per cent (2,630) on 2009.

Responsible Statistician Bernard Horan said: "The new developments within this report have enabled us to look at better ways to analyse and present workforce data within the central bodies and support to the NHS, local providers and commissioning organisations.

"We have worked closely with a variety of stakeholders to carefully design and develop these changes, so that the data will best reflect the changes in staff movement that have taken place between the primary, secondary and independent care sectors and to help with workforce planning in the future."

The full set of annual workforce data tables can be accessed at:


Note to editors

Note to editors

  1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 260 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.
  2. Counts of figures under 1,000 are exact and figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Figures over 10,000 but less than 100,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100 and figures over 100,000 have been rounded to the nearest 1,000. Figures over one million are rounded to the nearest 10,000 Percentages have been rounded to the nearest decimal point.
  3. Full time equivalent (FTE) measures an individual's working hours as a proportion of their standard full time contract. This means that a person who worked 3.75 hours of a 37.5 hour contract would count as 0.1 FTE and somebody who worked 37.5 hours would count as 1.0 FTE. FTE is based on each individual's contract, which means that full time hours will vary.
  4. "NHS staff" relates to Hospital and Community Health Services, covering staff working in NHS Trusts and CCGs, Central Bodies and support to the NHS
  5. Previously Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) when they existed within the Electronic Staff Record (ESR).
  6. Please note that this figure does not reflect the entire independent sector healthcare workforce.
  7. Between Septembers 2012 and 2013, the Health and Social Care Act reforms were enacted. These created a range of new organisations, disbanded other organisations and transferred certain functions between organisations. Certain staff who were previously not working in the NHS, for example for groups of staff working for Department of Health were transferred to NHS organisations. This would lead to an increase in the Central Bodies and support to NHS table. Certain staff working in Primary Care Trusts were transferred to work in central NHS organisations. This would lead to an apparent increase in staff working in Central Bodies and support to NHS and a corresponding decrease in staff working in NHS Trusts and CCGs.
  8. Between Septembers 2009 and 2012, a number of new independent organisations were set up as a result of the Transforming Community Services and Any Qualified Provider initiatives. These took on some functions previously delivered by staff directly employed by NHS Trusts and PCTs and has led to a decrease in certain staff groups (such as nurses and support to clinical staff) in the NHS Trusts and CCGs table and an increase for these groups in the Independent Sector historic table. This Independent Sector historic table includes only those organisations that used the Electronic Staff Record. From 2015 we are starting to collect and publish workforce information from Independent Sector organisations that do not use the Electronic Staff Record, so progressively more independent sector organisations will have their workforce information included in our figures.
  9. Professionally qualified clinical staff includes: Total HCHS Doctors, Nurses & Health Visitors, Midwives, Ambulance staff, Scientific, Therapeutic & Technical staff.
  10. Hospital doctors in training include: Speciality Registrars; Core Medical Training; Core Dental Training; Foundation Doctor Year 2; and Foundation Doctor Year 1
  11. Support to clinical staff includes the following sub groups; Support to doctors, nurses & midwives, Support to scientific, therapeutic & technical staff and Support to ambulance staff
  12. NHS infrastructure support includes the following sub groups; Central functions, Hotel, property & estates, Senior Managers and Managers.
  13. HSCIC today also publishes its routine provisional monthly figures - to December 2015 - for key Hospital and Community Health Service (HCHS) staff groups on the new methodology plus data on NHS staff earnings and sickness absence.
  14. For media enquiries please call 0300 30 33 888 or email
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