Record numbers of doctors and 14,813 more nurses working in the NHS


The number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 14,813 compared to last year, and the number of doctors rose by 6,257 to a record 121,726, figures published today up until the end of August show.

Quarterly vacancy statistics also published today show the number of overall NHS vacancies has decreased since last year by over 18,500 (17.5%), with the number of nursing and midwifery vacancies falling by over 15%.

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

Not only do we have record numbers of doctors and over 14,800 more nurses working in our NHS than last year, but our pipeline of future talent in nursing, medicine and general practice is now at record levels.

We are well on our way to deliver on our manifesto commitment of 50,000 more nurses in the NHS. I’m deeply grateful for the continued hard work of all our NHS staff throughout this pandemic.

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 latest UCAS figures show there are record numbers of people accepting a place to study nursing in England, with a 23% increase on the same time last year, or 5,000 more student nurses. A record number of people have also applied to study medicine next year.

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.

Background information

Today, NHS Digital published their monthly NHS workforce data for August 2020:

  • over the last year (August 2019 to August 2020) the number of FTE nurses has gone up by 14,813, from 280,599 to 295,412
  • over the last year (August 2019 to August 2020) the number of FTE doctors has gone up by 6,257, from 115,469 to 121,726
England August 2020 FTE Annual FTE Change Annual % Change
All staff 1,161,858 61,585 5.6%
Professionally qualified 612,087 29,420 5.0%
Doctors 121,726 6,257 5.4%
Nurses 295,412 14,813 5.3%


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