Record numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS


The number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 13,313 on last year to a record 299,184, and the number of doctors rose by 6,030 to a record 122,446, figures to the end of September show.

Professionally qualified clinical staff including paramedics are at record levels, as are scientific, therapeutic and technical staff.

Responding to today’s NHS workforce statistics, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

This winter will be challenging as we continue to fight this deadly virus, and I’m hugely grateful to all our staff who continue to save lives and provide care to those who need it.

I’m delighted that record numbers of doctors and nurses are working in our NHS, plus a record pipeline of future talent in nursing, medicine and general practice.

We are backing our NHS and thanks to their unrelenting dedication, we will not only beat COVID but secure the future of our health service and deliver on our manifesto commitment of 50,000 more nurses.

The final figures from this year’s admission cycle show there were 29,740 acceptances to nursing and midwifery courses in England, 6,110 more than last year and an increase of over a quarter (26%). The number of new nursing applicants to English providers between 15 January and 30 June was 68% (4,600) higher than the same period last year.

In addition, recent figures for this year show the highest ever number of GPs entering training with 3,793 posts accepted, exceeding the mandated target of 3,250. Health Education England has increased GP trainee acceptances year on year for the last 7 years.

The government say over the summer the NHS People Plan set out how the NHS will put staff wellbeing at its heart with a new recruitment, retention and support package. It sets out practical support for wellbeing such as safe spaces to rest and recuperate, wellbeing guardians and support to keep staff physically safe and healthy.

The NHS recently announced £15 million to strengthen mental health support for nurses, paramedics, therapists, pharmacists and support staff. Staff will get rapid access to expanded mental health services that are being rolled out across the country as part of efforts to deal with the second wave of coronavirus.

Table summarising NHS workforce statistics in England

Sept 2019Sept 2020 full-time equivalent (FTE)Annual FTE changeAnnual change (%)
All staff1,114,4731,164,72950,2564.5%
Professionally qualified591,712618,85827,1464.6%


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