Nursing and midwifery

Record number of nurses and midwives, NHS data shows

There are more nurses and midwives working in the health service than ever before, according to new figures from NHS England (NHSE).

As of November, the numbers show there are 372,411 nurses and midwives working in England, which is the higher ever seen.

The increase means there are more than 20,000 nurses and midwives supporting the NHS this winter compared to last year.

The number of midwives specifically has also grown by over 1,100 from last year – the figure now stands at 23,396 which is the most ever.

Andrew Stephenson comment

NHSE puts the bolstered workforce down to its international recruitment, retention initiatives, and the new routes into nursing and midwifery roles.

The midwifery workforce was supported by retention programmes in every maternity unit in England, as well as an extra in-year investment of up to £4m to boost the number of professional midwifery and nurse advocates.

The enhanced healthcare support worker workforce also contributed, with 8,000 more positioned in such roles as of September, compared to the same month in 2022.

England’s chief nursing officer, Dame Ruth May, emphasised the “crucial” role that nurses, midwives, nursing associates, and support workers play in the NHS workforce.

Meanwhile, Kate Brintworth, England’s chief midwifery officer, said that although progress is good, it is important to build from here and action the ambitions from the NHS long-term workforce plan and three-year maternity and neonatal delivery plan.

Director of education and training at NHSE, Professor Mark Radford, said: “Showing people what a nursing or midwifery career has to offer will be vital to the success of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and the NHS is growing a number of entry routes, such as the nurse degree apprenticeship, to make sure a career in nursing is a possibility for as many people as possible.”

Image credit: iStock

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