News, Culture & Society

Number of NHS managers rises as nursing recruitment falls

Hospitals are hiring soaring numbers of NHS managers while nurse and GP recruitment falls, a damning report reveals.

In the past three years the number of managers employed in England has increased 11 per cent, while the number of nurses and midwives has risen by just 1.6 per cent, the Health Foundation think-tank found.

But the increase in managers accelerated last year, with the total rising 4.3 per cent between April 2016 and April 2017 – as nursing numbers began to fall.

Over those 12 months the number of nurses and health visitors dropped by 0.2 per cent, and community nurses by 2.9 per cent.

In the past three years the number of NHS managers employed in England has increased 11pc (stock photo)

And in the past three years the number of GPs fell 2.3 per cent, while the overall total for doctors rose by just 3 per cent – a far slower rate than for managers.

Tory ministers have repeatedly pledged to cut back on ‘excessive bureaucracy’ in the health service.

But despite cutting thousands of NHS managers after taking power in 2010, the Conservative government has seen numbers ‘bouncing back’, the report said.

Critics last night called the figures an ‘embarrassing failure’.

The report said: ‘One group that appears to be bucking the trend in falling staff numbers are those defined as managers … The number of managers and senior managers in the NHS in England has been increasing since 2015.’

Tory ministers have repeatedly pledged to cut back on ¿excessive bureaucracy¿ in the health service (stock photo)

Tory ministers have repeatedly pledged to cut back on ‘excessive bureaucracy’ in the health service (stock photo)

The health service in England employs the equivalent of 1.05million full-time staff, including 306,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors, 106,000 hospital doctors and GPs, and 31,000 managers.


Paying families to host NHS patients in spare rooms may still become a reality, a Government minister has said.

Regional health bosses had last week back-tracked on the ‘CareBnB’ idea, which would see homeowners paid £50 a night to put patients up.

But health minister Philip Dunne yesterday said the scheme may go ahead if people receive proper training.

The firm CareRooms had been recruiting hosts for a trial in Essex before local NHS chiefs ditched the idea – which is designed to free up hospital beds and was to be funded by councils and NHS trusts.

Labour and campaigners warned of ‘clear safety risks’.

But Mr Dunne told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I think we can’t close our minds to looking at new ways of doing things … I wouldn’t immediately reject it.’

He said hosts for patients who need ‘care other than normal living requirements will need to be trained’.

NHS figures last month revealed basic pay for senior managers has risen by 15 per cent since 2010 – three times the 5 per cent rise given to the average nurse.

Baroness Judith Jolly, Lib Dem health spokesman, said: ‘Jeremy Hunt promised to reduce bureaucracy in the NHS, but the number of managers is still going up.

‘This is an embarrassing failure. People will rightly question why more money is being spent on NHS bureaucracy when frontline services are so overstretched.’

The report said in some trusts 30 per cent of staff are leaving every year. The Health Foundation’s Anita Charlesworth said: ‘There is a growing gap between rhetoric about the Government’s ambitions to grow the NHS workforce, and the reality of falling numbers of nurses and GPs.’

She urged the Government to put in place a ‘coherent strategy to provide a sustainable workforce’.

Janet Davies, of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘The drop in the number of nurses this year is deeply worrying, and particularly damaging when nurses are having to cope with rising numbers of patients.’

A Department of Health spokesman said there were still 5,600 fewer managers in the NHS than in 2010 and ‘more dedicated frontline staff on the wards than ever before’.

Hospitals are failing to ensure the safety of patients in their care, the NHS medical director warned. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh said safety measures often do not filter down because the NHS is made up of hundreds of organisations.

He called for a central system to oversee safety, but told the Sunday Telegraph clarity was needed on when a recommendation ‘should override financial considerations’.

A Department of Health spokesman said setting up a Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch was ‘our next step’.



Comments are closed.