More NHS jobs being filled, figures show

The NHS’ three-month vacancy rate has continued to fall, showing an increase in the number of NHS posts being filled, according to the latest figures.

The figures, published by Health Minister Lord Warner, showed that there are now 31,210 consultants working in the NHS and 32,190 GPs.

The figures also showed a drop in the consultant vacancy rate to 3.3% in March 2005, from 4.4% in March 2004. The GP vacancy rate dropped from 3.1% to 2.4% during the same period.

Qualified nursing vacancies (excluding practice nurses) also fell for the fifth time in succession, from 4.3% in March last year to 3.4% in March 2005.

The vacancy rate of qualified allied health professionals also fell from 4.3% to 3.4% during the same period, and the number of vacancies for scientific, therapeutic and technical staff also fell to 2.2% in March, from 2.6% the previous year.

Lord Warner said that the figures suggested that the increased demand for healthcare professionals, created by the expansion of NHS services, is beginning to match supply as more NHS jobs are filled.

The Health Minister said: “We now have 31,210 consultants working in the NHS and 32,190 GPs. The growth of workforce in the NHS has been crucial to helping the NHS deliver improvements on areas like waiting times, coronary heart disease, cancer treatments and access to services – but I know there is more work to do.

"The challenge is to develop new ways of working so that staff can work more productively, delivering quality services that are centred on patients' needs.”


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