Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

NHS managers rise to nearly 45,000

There have been sharp rises in NHS doctors since 1999

The number of managers in the NHS in England rose by nearly 12% last year, to almost 45,000.

During the same period, the number of qualified nurses increased by less than 2%.

The NHS in England now employs just over 1.43 million people - an increase of 4.6% on the previous year.

After a period of record growth, the Department of Health plans to make cuts of £4.35bn a year. It added managers were still a fraction of the workforce.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said the NHS had enjoyed record investment over the last decade.

NHS census
Staff numbers reached 1,432,000 in 2009
The number of consultants rose by 5.8%
The number of managers rose to 44,660 - an increase of 11.9%
The number of managers has risen 84% since 1999

But he said the NHS was entering a period of less growth, with the service "focused on improving quality and productivity to release efficiency savings that can be re-invested back into the service".

A Department of Health spokesperson said that although there had been a large percentage rise in the number of managers, overall they made up just 3.5% of the NHS workforce.

The NHS will reduce management costs by 30% by 2013/14, the spokesperson added.

Overall, the Department of Health in England plans to make cuts of £4.35bn within two years.

It says these can be achieved through procurement, savings in its national IT programme, increased energy efficiency, and better use of property.

Reducing staff sick leave in the NHS could alone save £555m, it says.

Dr Keith Brent, of the British Medical Association, said: "Managers have an important role, but you have to question whether such a sharp increase makes sense when numbers of nurses and midwives - who are overstretched throughout the country - are rising far more slowly."

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