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National Health Service

Volume 973: debated on Thursday 8 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total number of people employed by the National Health Service in 1960 and in 1979; and if he will also show the percentage employed (a) as doctors and nurses and (b) in administration.

It is not possible to answer the question in the precise form requested because of lack of information for 1960 and problems of coverage and comparability. The earliest year for which a realistic comparison of the staff groups in question can be made is 1971; the latest year for which comparable information for all the staff groups is available is 1977. The attached table sets out the information for the two years.figures for the Kent area and West Sussex area health authorities, respectively.

1978 information for England is not yet available. The information for 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977 is attached. I regret that the information for Kent and West Sussex area health authorities is not available centrally in the detail requested. I suggest

Whole-time equivalents
Administrative and clerical†77,10882,75891,86598,50799,037
Medical staff and practitioners‡49,59550,32652,08653,24054,309
Ratio of administrative and clerical to medical1·6:11·6:11·8:11·9:11·8:1
* During the period covered by this question there were changes in the definitions and coverage of the statistics quoted, the major ones arising from National Health Service re-organisation. These changes in definition affect the comparability of the statistics but to no significant extent.
† This includes support staff managers, but excludes ambulance officers. "Administrators" cannot be distinguished within the general category of administrative and clerical staff as there is no agreed definition of "administrator" which could be used for this purpose. It includes all family practitioner service administrative and clerical staff, i.e. those administering the general medical, dental, optical and pharmaceutical services.
‡ This includes whole-time equivalents of hospital and community health medical staff except locums, hospital doctors holding paragraph 89 or 94 appointments, hospital practitioner appointments and community health service occasional sessional staff. Also included are numbers of general medical practitioners and ophthalmic medical practitioners. Some general practitioners are also employed on a part-time basis in the community health service and such effort will be included amongst the figures for medical staff. This implies an element of double-counting. A small unquantifiable number of ophthalmic medical practitioners are also general medical practitioners, which again implies a minor element of double-counting.
Figures for general medical practitioners relate to 1 October; those for ophthalmic medical practitioners to 31 December.