Rising numbers of nurses and doctors boosts NHS workforce

The latest data shows that NHS nurse numbers continue to rise, with 13,502 more than last year, while the number of doctors in the NHS has also risen by 7,890.

Earlier this month the latest UCAS statistics revealed a 16% rise in applicants for nursing and midwifery courses in England, the second year-on-year increase. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has also reported its largest ever annual increase of registered nursing and midwifery professionals, with around 18,370 more on the permanent register to work in the UK compared to a year ago.

Separate figures released on Tuesday by Health Education England also show the number of GP trainees in England have risen for the third year running, with recruitment up 15% compared to the same point last year.

The figures for April include some former healthcare professionals who volunteered to return to the frontline during the pandemic. April figures also show that 442 returners were identified, of which there are 82 doctors and 112 nurses and health visitors. Not all returners are reflected in the monthly workforce stats as they could have been employed on fixed-term, honorary or bank contracts, or via NHS Professionals.

Responding to the latest NHS workforce statistics, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It’s fantastic that there are now over 13,500 more nurses and over 7,800 more doctors working in our NHS compared to last year. This pandemic has shown how proud the entire country is of all our brave health and care workers, and what an essential role they play in society. We made the commitment of 50,000 more nurses by end of this Parliament, and I’m determined we will meet it."