Official figures show healthy rise in NHS staff numbers

New
government figures show that there are big increases in the numbers of doctors
and nurses training and working in the NHS.

There
has been an increase of 529 GPs in the three months leading to March, and an
increase of 2,660 since September 1999. There has also been an estimated
increase of qualified nurses by 10,000 in the six months between September 2003
and March 2004.

The
latest training figures show that NHS Plan training targets have been exceeded
for nurses. The target was 5,500 more nurses and midwives to be entering
training each year by 2004, with last year seeing an increase of 5,577.

Health
minister John Hutton said: "These results show that we have more doctors
and nurses than ever before and that we are shaping a NHS workforce fit for the
future. Recruitment and retention measures are working and increased investment
in training is succeeding too.”

It
is estimated that 25 per cent of NHS nurses will leave in the next five years.

By Michael Millar

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