Soaring numbers of NHS executives are being hired while shortages of nurses are growing, a stark report warns today.
The figures show that the number of senior managers working in the health service has risen by 13 per cent in less than three years.
Over the same period, the nursing workforce grew by just 1.1 per cent – with total numbers now falling, the analysis of official data shows.
Patients groups said the situation was “extremely worrying” with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) questioning why the NHS was spending so much on managers, amid the nurse shortage.
The new report from the charity the Health Foundation report said workforce planning in the NHS was “not fit for purpose” with a lack of any coherent strategy to ensure it employed enough staff to meet the demands of an ageing population.
Across the NHS, the number of managers rose by 11 per cent between October 2014 and April of this year, the report shows, with rise of 13.3 per cent among the most senior staff. Meanwhile, the number of nurses and health visitors rose by just 1.1 per cent, with total numbers falling since last April.
The charity warned of staff shortages in “critical” services at a time when pressures are rising.
It also raised fears that the situation could worsen in future with a “sharp reduction” in the number of students training to become nurses, after plans to abolish free bursaries were announced.
The report highlights a sharp rise in the number of managers being recruited, at a time when other staff groups are seeing reductions or small rises.
“One group that appears to be bucking the trend in falling staff numbers are those defined as managers and senior managers,” the report found, accusing ministers of “muddled” thinking in their attempts to recruit more frontline staff.