HC Deb 14 December 1987 vol 124 c400W
Mr. Andrew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give, for each year over the past 10 years(a) the total number of all nurses in the National Health Service, (b) the number of trainee nurses joining the National Health Service and (c) the number of all nurses leaving the National Health Service, expressed as both a figure and a percentage figure.

Mr. Newton

Information about the total number of nursing and midwifery staff, and the number of trainee nurses joining the National Health Service is given in the table.

Year Nursing and midwifery staff in post at 30 September WTE1 2 3 Number of students and pupils entering basic nurse training Year ending 31 March4 5
1977 343,200 33,300
1978 351,000 29,410
1979 358,400 35,370
1980 370,100 32,620
1981 391,800 30,920
1982 397,100 31,800
1983 397,100 29,840
1984 397,500 24,970
1985 401,200 25,530
1986 402,700 23,700
1 Figures are independently rounded to the nearest one hundred (110) whole time equivalents and include qualified and unqualified staff and learners.
2 Includes agency staff.
3 Not adjusted for the reduction in nurses' contractual working hours (from 40 to 37.5 per week) during 1980–81.
4 Actual figures for England are not available prior to 1984. Figures are therefore assumed to be 95 per cent, of those for England and Wales.
5 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

Information about nurses leaving the National Health Service is not available centrally. However, the most commonly accepted estimate for qualified nursing and midwifery staff is 10 per cent. a year. This means that in the year ending 30 September 1986 some 23,500 left the service, but this includes retirements and those leaving to have a family.