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|
|Yorkshire & the Humber||9,371||6,379||46.90|
|East of England||9,319||8,139||14.50|
|South East Coast||7,164||6,397||11.99|