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NHS reveals staffing level increase

New figures released have shown the number of professionally qualified clinical staff at the NHS increased by a third between 1999 and 2009.

The NHS Information Centre data showed there were 725,580 clinical staff in 2009, up 34% compared with 1999 figures.

The total rose 23,750 from 2008 staffing levels.

The report also revealed a break down of numbers within this group.

It showed in 2009 there were 1,527 school nurses working for the NHS, 110 more than in 2008, and 1,057 more compared to 2003 figures.

But numbers of GP practice nurses fell between 2008 and 2009 to 21,940, while the number of health visitors was down to 10,390, according to the report.

Since 1999, the number of health visitors has fallen 17%, or an average of 1.8% per year.

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson said: "The fact there are 1,900 more GPs and 3,000 more nurses working in the community means we are doing what we said we would in the NHS, which is to move care closer to people's homes. It's what patients have told us they want.

"The census shows the largest rise in GP numbers since 1997."

A spokesman for the Department of Health added: "The NHS must continue to improve patient care, generating efficiency savings by reducing management and back-office costs, and implementing new ways of working.

"That is why it was announced in December, through the Operating Framework, that the NHS will reduce management costs by 30% by 2013/14."

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