NHS staffing crisis: Milton Keynes University Hospital's workforce in numbers

The NHS is in crisis, with a shortage of doctors, nurses and midwives crippling the health service across England.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 11:51 am

A recent report from a cross-party group of MPs led by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government must tackle "the greatest workforce crisis in history in the NHS" as it deals with the after effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The study by the Health and Social Care Committee criticised the absence of a long-term plan to address stalling recruitment and persistent short-staffing.

We have taken a look at NHS figures for Milton Keynes University Hospital to see how the workforce has changed as the crisis across the country deepened.

Critical staffing levels are putting a strain on the NHS

Doctors

The latest figures from NHS Digital show there were the equivalent of 489 full-time doctors as of April at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

This was up from 459 last year and 376 in April 2016 – when comparable figures for all professions began – equating to a rise of 30% over the last six years.

Nationally, there were 128,000 FTE doctors in NHS trusts in April, up from 124,000 the year before and 104,000 in 2016.

But the workforce figures, which provide a snapshot overview, do not account for the number of health care workers who joined and left the NHS in between counts, nor do they indicate how staffing levels compare to demand for services.

The report by the Health and Social Care Committee said the NHS must still recruit a further 12,000 hospital doctors to address a current national shortfall.

Emma Runswick, the BMA deputy chair of council, said: "If the Government continues to ignore this – or continued warnings from reports like this – the impact on health professionals, patients and the very health of our society does not bear thinking about."

Midwives

There are fewer midwives across the country than last year – the figures show there were the equivalent of 21,741 working full-time hours in April, down from 22,374 last year.

It comes as the MPs’ report says 2,000 more midwives are urgently needed to address staffing shortages.

At Milton Keynes University Hospital there were 114 midwives in April – down from 121 last year.

The Royal College of Midwives said people are leaving the industry because "morale is shattered".

Nurses and Health Visitors

Figures also show there were 814 nurses and health visitors at Milton Keynes University Hospital in April.

This is up from 779 last year and 705 at the start of the pandemic.

But the committee said there is a vast shortage of nurses nationally, with the NHS needing to urgently recruit more than 50,000 nurses and midwives.

In England, there were 319,000 FTE nurses and health visitors in April – up from 310,000 the year before and 285,000 in 2016.

The Royal College of Nursing said persistent understaffing "poses a serious risk to staff and patient safety" and urged the Government to take immediate action.

Sickness Rates

At Milton Keynes University Hospital, 6% of full-time staff days were lost due to sickness absence in March.

In March 2019, the rate stood at 3.8%.

The RCN said that the high absence figures were "yet more evidence of the need for drastic action and investment in the nursing workforce".