The NHS & GP practices employ 1.5m people in England alone – what do they all do?

UK government healthcare spend is more than entire economies of 11 EU countries COMBINED

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2021

A Facts4EU.Org analysis of the largest employer in Europe – how many are medical staff?

A Facts4EU.Org three-part report on the NHS

  1. PART ONE - The shocking rise in NHS waiting lists
  2. PART TWO (This report)
  3. PART THREE - Devastating official facts on the lack of non-Covid treatment last year (coming when we have sufficient funds)

On Thursday Facts4EU.Org published a series of three ‘at-a-glance’ charts showing just how badly the nation’s health chances have been affected by measures taken for just one condition: Covid-19.

Today we attempt to answer a natural question arising from our report on Thursday:

“What do the 1.5m+ people working for NHS England and GP practices do?”

The official figure of 1,344,679 employees of NHS England does not include the GPs and dentists who are not directly employed by the NHS. In England there are also 183,769 people working in general practice and more than 24,000 dentists. This brings the overall total for England to 1.56 million people. Then there are care homes and other services, which are beyond the scope of this report.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

How many of the NHS staff are medical staff and how many are support, admin and management?

Latest NHS staffing numbers at May 2021

  • Total NHS England staff: 1,344,679 employed
  • Key ‘Front line’ medical staff - 524,184 (38.98%), of which:-
    • NHS consultants & doctors: 131,831 (9.8%)
    • NHS nurses & health visitors: 346,582 (25.8%)
    • NHS midwives: 26,892
    • NHS ambulance staff: 18,879

Other staff

  • Scientific, therapeutic & technical staff: 174,404 (13%)
  • Support staff, central functions, and management: 648,232 (48.2%)

Summary: More than six out of ten NHS England employees are not key front-line medical staff.

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

Overall, NHS England classifies 51.9% of its staff as “Professionally qualified clinical staff”. Less than 10% of NHS England employees are hospital doctors and less than 28% are hospital nurses, midwives, or health visitors.

How do GP practices compare with the central NHS?

In addition to NHS England headcount, we analysed the latest official staffing numbers at GP practices in England using the latest figures for July 2021. These are not NHS employees and the results are as follows:-

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

What do the staff of GP practices do?

  • All GP Practice staff in England: 183,769, of which:
    • Qualified Permanent GPs, excluding trainees & locums: 35,013 (19.1%)
    • Nurses, including trainees: 23,171 (12.6%)
    • Other patient care, including physios, therapists, etc, and trainees: 20,183 (11.0%)
    • Admin and managers: 96,989 (52.8%)

In broad terms, GP practices have almost double the proportion of doctors as NHS England, and less than half the proportion of nursing staff.

Would you like to earn £10-£20,000 per MONTH, generous NHS pension and other benefits, relocation expenses, flexible hours, no chance of being fired for incompetence?

Facts4EU.Org looked at some of the jobs currently on offer in the NHS, in positions which require no medical competence.

Could you be a ‘Deputy Director of People’ for £115,000 per annum, plus all the generous benefits?
What about being responsible for directing the maintenance of 10 buildings for £130,000 per annum?
Or maybe become a ‘Director of Design Quality’ for £115,000 per annum?
Or perhaps you fancy one of the 42 new NHS management jobs on offer which pay up to £270,000 per annum?

How much have we spent – and how much more are we going to spend – on the NHS?

In 2020, overall government expenditure on healthcare in the UK as a whole was an astonishing £220.3bn, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

To put this into context, this is more than the entire gross domestic products of each of 16 of the 27 EU countries:-

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge



Czech Republic

In fact, UK government spending on healthcare in 2020 was larger than the entire economies of 11 EU countries COMBINED:
Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Hungary.


This is about the NHS as an organisation - not its people

Inevitably when we produce summary reports such as the one above, and the one we published on Thursday, some people on social media will always throw abuse. “Don’t you appreciate what these caring people have been doing for us?” they will cry, indignantly.

It should of course be self-evident that we are publishing our analysis of aggregate figures and we intend no disrespect to any of the fine people who work on the front line to provide us all with healthcare. Above we have highlighted just a few headline facts about the NHS as an organisation. Firstly, more than six out of 10 employees of NHS England are not frontline medical staff. Secondly, the amount of UK government healthcare spending is more than the entire economic output of 11 EU countries combined. Thirdly, NHS England on its own - excluding Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland - is the largest employer in Europe.

The NHS structure must be reformed and simplified

For decades successive governments have promised that they would reorganise the NHS, cut down on bureaucracy, and make it more efficient. Yet the NHS continues to recruit non-medical staff at salaries that would make most people’s eyes water.

There is no doubt that people are receiving a sub-standard service from ‘our NHS’ in many parts of the country. Throwing even more billions at the NHS with no attempt to make it more efficient, when the country is facing massive debts due to the Covid measures, does not strike us as the most intelligent approach.

It’s easy to spend other people’s money. It’s a little more challenging to spend it wisely.

In tomorrow's Sunday edition of Facts4EU.Org

Tomorrow we return to the subject of the UK's stunning coup in securing a major new defence alliance with the US and Australia. We look at the petulance of the latest French response, the desperation of the EU, and the troubling and growing threat of China. Compelling reading, not to be missed!

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[ Sources: NHS England | NHS Digital | HM Treasury | EU Commission statistics agency ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 18 Sep 2021

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