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Record number of nurses and midwives working in NHS

There are more nurses and midwives working in the NHS than ever before according to new figures published by NHS England.

There are more nurses and midwives working in the NHS than ever before according to new figures published by NHS England.

The data shows the number of nurses and midwives working in the NHS in England is now at 372,411 – the highest recorded number ever, meaning there over 20,000 more in the NHS workforce going into this winter compared with last year.

The number of midwives has grown by more than 1,100 from last year to 23,396 – the largest number of midwives ever.

‘Nurses, midwives, nursing associates and support workers are a crucial part of our NHS workforce, providing essential treatment and care to patients and communities,’ said Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England.

‘It’s good to see today’s figures which show growth in these roles across the NHS. Of course, we still have some way to go which is why it is vital we continue to build our workforce as set out in the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan – through increasing the number of future nurses and midwives in training and improving retention. Key to this is improving the experiences of our colleagues who work so hard to provide patients and the public with the very best care.’

Targeted initiatives to support the midwifery workforce to grow included NHS England funding retention programmes in every maternity unit in England and additional in-year investment of up to £4 million to accelerate the number of Professional Midwifery and Nurse Advocates.

This increase in the NHS workforce is also reflected in a rise in the number of healthcare support workers, with 8,000 more people working in such roles as of September 2023 compared to same month the year before. The rise followed a dedicated programme of work to grow the healthcare support worker workforce through a national recruitment drive.

The rise followed the publication of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan which will see medical and adult nursing training places almost double by 2031. While additional recruitment, new retention measures and reform for how the NHS works could mean the NHS has at least an extra 60,000 doctors, 170,000 more nurses and 71,000 more allied health professionals in place by 2036/37.

‘We are so pleased to see the growth within the nursing, midwifery and support staff workforce and will build on this as we work to achieve the Long Term Workforce Plan commitment to train and retain more nurses and midwives,’ said Professor Mark Radford – Director of Education and Training, NHS England.

‘Showing people what a nursing or midwifery career has to offer will be vital to the success of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and the NHS is growing a number of entry routes, such as the nurse degree apprenticeship, to make sure a career in nursing is a possibility for as many people as possible.’