The UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care has announced new data which shows that a record number of doctors and nurses are working in the NHS in England.
According to data published by NHS Digital, the number will help deliver extra appointments, expedite diagnoses and cut waiting lists for patients.
Furthermore, the data shows an addition of over 48,700 people, an increase of 4%, compared to 2022.
In January 2023, there were almost 1.27 million full-time equivalent staff working in NHS trusts and commissioning bodies in England.
The government is also on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by next year.
New changes are also in place to the NHS Pension Scheme to make retirement more flexible for senior NHS clinicians.
The changes will support retired and partially retired staff to continue working in the NHS for longer.
The staff can also work as many hours as they want and boost the workforce, as part of the NHS’ efforts to tackle the backlogs.
Separately, public sector pension reforms have been introduced to increase the annual tax-free pension allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 and remove the lifetime allowance charge.
Nearly 22,000 senior clinicians are expected to exceed the previous £40,000 annual allowance in 2023-24.
In addition, around 31,000 clinicians have reached at least 75% of the £1.073m lifetime allowance.
UK Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “It’s crucial we have a sustainable workforce as we build a stronger, healthier NHS for the long term with patients at its centre.
“We are making progress in training and recruiting a record number of staff – with over 48,700 more compared to a year ago and the NHS will soon publish a workforce plan focused on recruiting and retaining more staff.
“Today’s pension changes will also help boost numbers of senior clinicians – so we can continue delivering high quality care for patients.”
This year, NHS England is also planning to publish a workforce strategy for appointing more medical staff needed for the upcoming five, ten and 15 years.