21 / 3 / 2013 10am
Dean Royles says encouraging that there are more professionally qualified NHS staff than ever before and more consultant-led services to provide quality care locally.
Responding to the annual NHS Staff Census published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre today, Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, said:
"The NHS is under enormous financial pressure so it's hardly surprising that we have seen a reduction in workforce numbers. When two thirds of NHS spending is on its staff it's remarkable that the overall change is so small. And there are now more professionally qualified NHS staff than ever before. This is down to local organisations working creatively, often in partnership with trade unions to maintain and develop local services.
"What we also see in the figures is the NHS workforce changing to reflect the needs of patients, with growth among community workers including GPs and health visitors. There are also more consultants to provide consultant-led services that can more flexibly deliver quality care locally. This is encouraging as we seek to develop more seven day services.
"The nursing workforce has reduced but there has been an increase in qualified staff including doctors and other health professionals by a similar amount - including physiotherapists and occupational therapists providing direct, hands-on patient care. And there continues to be three times more qualified nurses than nursing assistants.
"Staff have told employers that job security is more important than pay rises and this is what employers have sought to prioritise, especially as most staff already receive annual incremental rises averaging more than three per cent. But the Government's recent announcement of pay rises will put further pressure on employers to try to maintain staffing levels."