The NHS workforce has fallen by around 17,000 people in one year, according to a snapshot of staffing levels released today.
The number of people working in the NHS fell by around 17,000 between September 2005 and September 2006, the Information Centre for Health and Social Care (ICHSC) said.
This equates to 8,118 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, when all the people working part-time are taken into account.
The government defended the “small” drop in staffing, in the face of criticism from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats over what they called the “appalling mismanagement” of the health service.
Analysis of the figures shows a drop of 5,826 in the number of qualified nurses working in the NHS between 2005 and 2006. However, this figure includes 3,370 duplicate entries for 2006, leaving an actual fall of 2,456.
Equally, there were 18,342 fewer support workers for clinical staff, with a duplicate entry number of 2,719, leaving an actual drop of 15,243, according to the Department of Health.
NHS workforce shrinks by 17,000