As the service responds to changing demand and medical advances, more staff – and new careers – are being developed
Seventy years ago the NHS launched with a workforce of around 144,000. Since then, the health service has grown to become the single biggest employer in the UK, with 1.7 million workers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, making it the fifth-largest workforce in the world. It is probably the most diverse workforce in the UK – for instance, some 62,000 NHS staff in England are EU nationals. It’s not unusual to be treated by a nurse from the Philippines or India or seen by a doctor from Egypt, Korea or even Russia.
As the workforce demographic has changed there have also been huge advances in medicine. There has been a move towards more patient self-management in an integrated health and social care system, with more people looked after outside of hospital nearer home. At the same, time patient demand has soared, and it is anticipated that 190,000 more staff will be needed in England alone by 2027 if the current pressure on services continues apace.
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