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NHS workforce shrinks by 2%


The NHS workforce shrank by 2% in the year to August, staff figures analysed by Nursing Times reveal.

The provisional NHS Information Centre show that in the year to August 2011, 96,718 staff left the NHS in England – 31% more than the 73,790 who joined it.

However, the figures highlight regional variations in the loss of staff through redundancies, frozen posts and changed skill mix. In the South East Coast region 12% more staff left than joined, while the North West had 61% more leavers than recruits.

Southampton University chair of health services research Peter Griffiths said: “It might be that the regions are acting to different timescales in terms of responding to financial pressures.”

The figures are based on headcount and exclude trainee and locum doctors, bank staff and primary care staff. Nursing Times compared them with average headcount figures for each region between August 2010 and 2011 (see table).

The figures also back a workforce trend reported last month by Nursing Times, showing that nurse numbers are reducing but doctor numbers are still increasing.

The latest figures show that over the year, 21% more doctors joined the NHS in England than left it. But 13% fewer nurses, midwives and health visitors were recruited to the NHS compared with the number that left it.


Region                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Leavers Joiners       % more leavers than joiners  
North West   12,995     8,074 60.95
Yorkshire & the Humber   9,371   6,379 46.90
North East 4,9833,504   42.21
East Midlands  7,913 5,608   41.10
South West   9,733   7,506   29.67
London   15,917 13,22720.34
West Midlands   9,606  7,98420.32
South Central 6,850   5,760 18.92
East of England9,319 8,139   14.50
South East Coast  7,164   6,397 11.99

Readers' comments (4)

  • Staff are leaving their posts because of undue pressure, the bullying culture that pressures nurture and because colleagues are treating each oter in ways that they would not have done in the past.
    Nurse managers working many hours beyond there normal contracted hours, consultants treating team leaders appaulingly and without excuse.
    Disgusted at the stories i am hearing from ex colleagues who have given their all and are still giving their all to maintain a good service. I am afraid its quantity over quality and staff loyalties are forgotten.

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  • No surprises there then!

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  • And they wonder why things are failing? Ridiculous.

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  • Hi Guys
    Downunder again.
    Just wondering how its all going over there. And then I read this.And I thnk to myself nothing has changed for you all. Still working under crap conditions, still unable to give quality care that you know you would like to give, but conditions ( sorry budget ) wont allow.Such a massive exit of nurses which is so scary to you. Looks like your doctors will be running the wards in the not too near theres a vision!!
    We here are still ongoing in a battle with Government who wants to wait for it....get rid of our patient ratios, introduce Healthcare Assistants into acute areas...and make us work 4 hours shifts....and lets not forget bringing in the old split shifts.
    This battle is huge believe me. Massive rallies...the last one was 12000 nurses, near on weekly mass meetings in the city and we are hitting every hospital with rallies outside the hospital daily. Friday is another huge meeting in the city and then we march to Parlimant House to hand over thousands and thousands of petitions from the public. We have spent the passed 6 weeks or so getting the public support we need, including mass media coverage. We have that support now, THEN we will again act. It looks sadly that this will go to another 1986 strike, as Government are hellbent on getting these demands passed by taking us to Arbitration.
    We have 60,000 ANGRY nurses wearing RED every day to work and on days off!! And we are playing our cards well. The majority of nurses here are working their guts out to make sure we keep what we know the public needs ..and thats our ratios and registered nurses., AND TO MAINTAIN QUALITY CARE.
    But the battle will be bloody this time and we are all finding it hard. Beds were closed for a few weeks here and then we opened them as an olive branch to Government to negotiate...they did not do this and so we shall see what the next move is. Nurses were again docked pay for bed closures and still they worked on...thats how we play it.
    Have any of you joined our Facebook ANF Respect Our Work...Come see the SEA OF RED.We should send some of our gals over there to get your other nurses motivated :D THE COURAGE OF ONE MAN GETS THE MAJORITY...XXX

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