A RECORD number of doctors and nurses are working in the NHS in England, says MP Mel Stride (pictured right).

The Central Devon MP says these extra staff are ‘delivering extra appointments, speeding up diagnoses and helping to tackle the COVID backlog.

‘There are almost 1.24 million full-time equivalent staff working in NHS trusts and commissioning bodies in England – over 34,000 more people compared to a year ago, up by nearly three per cent.’

He stressed the latest data published by NHS Digital up to September shows there are almost 4,000 more doctors and over 9,300 more nurses working in the NHS compared to September 2021.

‘Since 2010, there are now over 34,170 more doctors and over 44,820 more nurses working in the NHS. 4,000 new trainee doctors have accepted GP training placements – hitting the government’s target for GP specialty trainee recruitment for the fifth year running – according to the latest figures from Health Education England.

There are also now more than 21,000 more primary care staff supporting patients, including nurses and pharmacists, since September 2019 and the government is on track to meet its target of 26,000 additional staff by March 2024.

Welcoming the figures, Mr Stride said: ‘Our NHS is facing serious pressures, with record call outs for ambulances and a long backlog of operations and treatments that built up during the pandemic.

‘Recruiting more NHS doctors and nurses is essential and the progress in the past year is really positive.’

He said the government remains on track to deliver on its commitment to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024, with over 32,000 more nurses in September 2022 compared with September 2019.

He added that in the Autumn Statement the government committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce strategy next year to recruit and retain more staff, with independently verified forecasts for the number of doctors, nurses and other professionals that will be needed in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time.

‘This will mean more patients will be able to access the services they need, when they need it,’ he said.