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Increase in NHS managers outstrips nurse recruitment by 10%


The number of managers working in the NHS has risen by 12% last year, six times as much as the number of nurses, figures showed today.

The overall data, from the NHS Information Centre, showed NHS staff numbers reached 1.432 millon in 2009 - an increase of 63,300 (4.6%) on the previous year and a 30% rise since 1999.

Within this group, there was a 2% rise in the number of nurses and a 5% rise in the number of qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff. In comparison, the NHS employed 44,660 managers and senior managers - up 4,750 (12%) since 2008.

In 2009, school nurses increased by 110 (8%) on 2008 to reach 1,527 and by 1,057 (225%) since 2003.

There were 725,580 professionally qualified clinical staff in 2009, up 23,750 (3.4%) on 2008 and 183,810 (34%) on 1999.

Some 51,500 hospital doctors were in training (up 5% on 2008 figures), while there was a 6% increase in the number of consultants and a 3% rise in the number of midwives.

However, the workforce census figures also revealed staff numbers falling in other areas.

The number of GP practice nurses fell by 110 (0.5%) to 21,940 while the number of health visitors fell by 440 (4.1%) to 10,390.

This is a 17% fall (2,060 health visitors) since 1999 or a 1.8% fall per year over the last decade.

A spokesman for the Department of Health added: “The NHS must continue to improve patient care, generating efficiency savings by reducing management and back-office costs, and implementing new ways of working.

“That is why it was announced in December, through the Operating Framework, that the NHS will reduce management costs by 30% by 2013-14.”


Readers' comments (18)

  • good is that?

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  • Martin Gray

    They should be doing this now, not in 4 years time!! It would be intertesting to see PCTs and other Trusts justify each of their management structures, and why they are paid so much when all the results show a decline rather than an improvement. Managers seem to attend endless meetings, which may have agendas but prove a waste of time.

    Just proves politicians have NO IDEA about the real needs of the healthcare in this country, and allowing even more managers to be appointed is pure financial stupidity when they keep telling the population that cuts have to be made in the NHS.

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  • Why does it take 3-4 years to reduce the costs of management? I notice on the news that the government plans to save millions in NHS expenditure by measures such as reducing the number of sickness absences in clinical staff. Maybe, if an increase in the number of nurses could be commensurate with the decrease in managers, we would have less sick days anyway. I wonder if there is any research into how many nurses are off sick with stress and exhaustion because of chronic understaffing?

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  • As nurses are we really suprised at these statistics?
    And not one of the blighters knows how to run a health service. In all my 35 years toiling in the NHS I haven't met a single one who was any good for anything.
    In fact, to give a very recent example of the inept calibre of personage currently employed as managers by the NHS, whilst attending a recent "meeting" in the PCT I currently slog for (which is seriously understaffed) one senior manager, when asked about pre and current planning for recently introduced services, which quite honestly have been a disaster from day one, actually said and I quote -

    "We're making it up as we go along"!!!!

    Now is that not the greatest business plan you've ever heard? Breathtaking in it's simplicity!! I was rendered speechless by the sheer audacity of the strategy! Alan Sugar would be so proud!! Hundreds of millions in debt and this is the calibre of individual who is being relied on to resolve it all! That'll mean more meetings then!!!!

    How do they get these jobs???
    And this individual has to be on a band 8C or 8D at the very least.

    God forbid they'd ever consider talking to the staff who are actually doing the job and then heeding their expert advice! No, that would be far too complicated.

    It was clearly this type of thinking that led this same PCT into duplicating every level of management infrastructure by splitting into 2 branches - Provider and Commissioner Services. Creative thinking at it's finest!!!

    Now for some of my creative cogitating - just think of the savings that could be achieved if one half of the duplicated management were axed!

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  • Very interesting but not at all surprised. A group of us (student nurses) were sitting around a lunch table yesterday (we were at uni so got a lunch). And we all were talking about how we are going to get our registration and go to Canada, Australia, Nigeria and America amongst others.

    As my peer said ''The NHS is f****ed, get out while you can''.

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  • Teachers have to prove they can teach. Managers don't have to prove anything and are accountable to no one.
    Anyone who speaks out in the malfunctioning trusts is silenced by suspension on false allegation charges. The corrupt managers then conduct skewed investigations to prove guilt, continue this at disciplinary hearing - some people have had the documentary evidence to prove thier innocence but it is ignored - and are silenced forever. THe NMC upholds the work of the malfunctioning trust - see the M Haywood case.
    Desperate and more managers coming on stream! Will it ever change?
    Julie Fagan CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary(Unjust) Suspensions and Exclusions UK) See

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  • Unfortunately it's never the bad managers that end up leaving (they still manage to get their big bonuses) it's those of us that are doing the frontline patient care, because our numbers are being reduced dramatically by recruitment freezes in an already understaffed service and pressure is being put on us more and more to work extra hours to cover shortfalls. Overtime and excess hours are no longer being paid to nursing staff in my trust but the expectation is that you will work beyond your contracted hours to meet the needs of the trust, which if there were the right number of nurses to cover the shifts in the first place wouldn't be necessary. Time is meant to be given back in lieu but unfortunately due to insufficient staffing numbers this doesn't happen very often). Maybe we could get rid of the inefficient managers and recruit more staff to actually look after the patients!!!!! As someone previously commented though 'we're making it up as we go along'

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  • Martin Gray

    I wonder just how many nurses stay on beyond their shift finishing time to help ease the burden on oncoming staff? As has been stated already nurses do go over time for a number of reasons, but not selfish ones; maybe there is a shortage of staff on the next shift, the department is busier than usual, etc.

    If we worked strctly to our time the service provision to patients decrease considerably, whilst the stress of overburdenment would increase dramatically - result: poor patient care, miustakes being made, staff going off with stress related conditions (including exhaustion), more agency nurses being drafted in to cover the decrease in employed nursing staff......... and the management wouldn't bat an eyelid because they can always pass the buck to the person below them, which cascades down to frontline level and the charge nurse/sister getting it in the neck.

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  • A large new hospital for children has been built quite recently in Manchester and at the outset the nurses at the front line raised the issue of parking and that they would not move to this new hospital. This hospital is now being manned by a huge amount of agency staf as there is now less staff available to man this. Why oh why do these people not listen to the existing staff? A lot of the very qualified and dedicated staff were lost in the move some retiring, others moving to other hospitals or the community, having more managers has not solved this problem, why do people forget their roots and what they wanted when they were lowly staff nurses. When we queried the lack of parking senior management replied that their were buses and railway or shared travel Ha Ha I have never worked exactly the same shift as anybody when working on a ward so how were we supposed to do that, and would management take a bus or train at the end of a late shift or at the start of a night shift?

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  • Also, the parking charges at CMCH and other CM hospitals is appauling.

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