The number of staff working in the NHS rose last year – but it also included a rise in the number of managers.
The annual NHS census found 34,301 extra people – 32,586 full-time – were working in the service compared with the previous year.
This included an extra 5,309 doctors, 6,646 extra nurses and 2,123 extra allied health professionals.
However, the number of managers also increased by 1,665 – almost doubling their number in the past 10 years. There were 39,391 managers in 2005 – up from 20,842 in 1995.
The figures show more than 1.3 million people were employed in the NHS in 2005, compared with a million in 1995.
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said there had been record increases in NHS staff in recent years – but she now expected the size of the total workforce to stabilise.
The emphasis in future would be on deploying staff in new ways to deliver a more personalised service for patients, she said.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of health service union Unison, said: “The latest reforms have increased administration and bureaucracy and the need to employ more managers. It would be far better to use the money [for] frontline services.”
But Gill Morgan, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the NHS was under-managed.
“The private sector, on average, has much higher levels of managerial staff. The NHS deals with more than one million patients a day. That level of complexity takes a lot of managing so that doctors and nurses can get on with their job,” she said.