The number of managers employed by the NHS has risen by in excess of 6% in the last 12 months, according to new figures.
NHS workforce figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that between 2014 and 2015 the number of managers increased by 6.5% to 20,300.
And it is notable that this is a significantly higher rate than the increase in the overall health service workforce, which Expanded at a rate of less than 2%.
The number of senior managers increased by 5.3% to 9,260.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association, suggested that the way that the increase in workforce has been distributed can be considered somewhat inappropriate and puzzling.
“Many NHS managers do a good job for the NHS in difficult circumstances, but it is surprising that when many areas of the NHS are suffering from unfilled posts and staff shortages, the number of managers is beginning to increase again. These figures show little evidence of the huge expansion in the workforce that is needed to deliver the Government’s current uncosted and vague plan to increase the NHS’s capacity.”
And Porter also believes that the lack of investment in rank-and-file staffing will have a massive impact on the ability of the NHS to deliver cultural change and an adequate service to patients.
“The reported rise in staffing levels of barely 2% is insignificant given what the NHS needs when it is facing rapidly increasing patient demand, especially from an ageing population with complex health needs that requires expanding support in the community and in hospitals.”
Porter pointed out that numerous authoritative organisations have previously indicated that their levels of staffing are inadequate, and that this is ultimately impacting on the end customer of the NHS.
“Many bodies, including the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives, have reported under staffing in their specialities that is already having a damaging impact on patient care. These figures show little evidence of the huge expansion in the workforce that is needed to deliver the Government’s current uncosted and vague plan to increase the NHS’s capacity through its so-called seven-day service proposal.”
Responding to the figures, a spokeswoman from the Department of Health suggested that the taxpayer was in fact receiving value for money, and that there is a coherent staffing strategy in place in the health service.
“There are 5,000 fewer managers in the NHS since 2010, saving the taxpayer £300 million. At the same time, there are 10,600 more nurses on our wards, 50,000 nurses currently in training and our changes to student funding will create up to 10,000 more training places by the end of this parliament.”