Press release

Record numbers of doctors and nurses to help cut waiting lists

There are more doctors and nurses working in the NHS than ever before, with hundreds more doctors in general practice and thousands more primary care staff.

  • More doctors, nurses and staff than ever before working in the NHS
  • Data also shows over 500 more doctors working in general practice
  • Government delivers on commitment to recruit 26,000 more primary care staff by 2024 a year early

For the second consecutive month, there are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS helping to deliver extra appointments, speed up diagnoses and tackle the Covid backlog, according to data published today by NHS England.

Over 1.28 million full-time equivalent staff are working in NHS trusts and commissioning bodies in England as of March 2023 - over 53,600 more compared to a year ago which is an increase of 4.4%.

At the same time, additional data shows there are more than 29,000 additional primary care staff as the government announced last week it has delivered on its commitment to recruit 26,000 more staff in primary care by March 2024.

As of April 2023, over 500 more full-time equivalent doctors are working in general practice compared to a year ago.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Steve Barclay, said:

We continue to make progress on strengthening the NHS and primary care workforce.

Cutting waiting lists is one of the government’s five priorities, so it is extremely promising to see record numbers of NHS doctors, nurses, midwives and nursing associates registered to practice in the UK to ensure patients get the care they need more quickly.

We have published a Primary Care Recovery Plan setting out how we will support general practice to recover from the pandemic, and will soon publish a long term workforce plan focused on recruiting and retraining more staff – to help tackle the backlogs and improve patient care.

There are almost 2,000 more doctors in general practice than in 2019, along with a record 4,000 in training – up from 2,671 in 2014. Just as in hospitals, trainees deliver direct patient care while being safely supervised and support fully-qualified GPs, helping to ease workloads and increase capacity in general practice.

Separate statistics published earlier this week show that the number of nurses, midwives and nursing associates registered to practise in the UK has grown to a record total of 788,638. This means the National Midwifery Council (NMC) register is now equivalent to 1.2% of the estimated UK population, with numbers of homegrown UK-educated staff increasing, alongside talent from overseas.

Underlying this strong growth, 2022–2023 saw the highest number of new joiners to the NMC’s register in a single year – 52,148, with the number of UK educated joiners rising by 8.5 percent to more than 27,142.

Published 25 May 2023