One in 10 workers in North employed in health sector

More than one in 10 of the North’s entire workforce is employed in the health and social care sector and numbers have rocketed in the past decade, it was revealed today.

Almost 78,000 people are employed in Health and Social Care (HSC), making it the single largest workforce in the North.

Excluding casual staff the total drops to a little less than 67,000 – but in March 2008 that was 26% up on 10 years before.

The Health and Social Care Workforce Census published by the Department of Health showed that the drive for efficiency is putting more people into front-line health jobs and less into desk-bound jobs.

In the year to March 2008 the number of medical and dental staff, qualified nurses and allied health professionals increased by 1% while those employed in administration and clerical jobs decreased by 5%.

Over the same period the number of ambulance staff increased by 5%.

The largest single group within the workforce was nurses, midwives and health visiting staff who accounted for a third to the total.

By contrast there were just 3,823 medical and dental staff, excluding GPs, working in hospital and community settings – just over a third of them were consultants.

The North employs more nurses per head of population than anywhere else in the UK – 78 per 10,000 population, in England the figures are 58 per 10,000.

Equally its midwives appear under less pressure with 27 births per midwife compared with 35 in England.

Support service staff recorded the highest turnover in the last year – some 11% leaving and 10 joining, while for administration and clerical staff the leaving rate was 105 but joining rate 5% showing many of those going were not being replaced.

The overall vacancy rate dropped from 3% to 2% in the year to March 2008.

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