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Healthcare Community Life

Where Does the NHS rank amongst the World’s Biggest Employers?

It’s really quite a task to try and explain just how gigantic the NHS is, and indeed how vital it is to the health of the general public.

Since it was formed in 1948 on three principals – to meet the needs of everyone, to be free at the point of delivery and to be based on clinical need, not the ability to pay – it has grown and now employs more than 1.7 million people.

It’s an enormous operation that can only function thanks to hard-working staff, whether they’re ‘behind the scenes’ working as porters or operating as maintenance staff, or are responsible for treating patients directly as a nurse, doctor or surgeon.

Either way, these workers are the lifeblood, so to speak, of the public’s health.


Caring For More Than 64.1 Million People

The NHS is not only responsible for reaching all corners of the UK, from London to Birmingham, Dundee and Humberside.

Looking beyond the 64.1 million people in the UK; its remit also includes ten territories across the Commonwealth including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand.

But thinking about the many different treatments and medical research projects it encapsulates, and the millions of loyal, almost philanthropic staff working towards the wellbeing of the nation – you could imagine it rather substantial in terms of people and expenditure.

It has long been known to be the UKs biggest employer, but where does it rank amongst the world heavyweights?


It’s the Fifth Largest Employer in the World

That’s right, the NHS, which employs 1.7 million, is the world’s fifth largest employer, and is the only UK institution to make it into the top 10 biggest employers.

Figures from the NHS Confederation published in 2014 show that during that year the NHS employed:

  • 150,273 doctors
  • 337,191 qualified nurses
  • 155,960 scientific therapeutic and technical staff
  • 37,078 managers

The figures show the NHS is growing rapidly. There were 32,467 more doctors in 2014 compared to 2004 – an average annual increase of 2.5%. There were 18,432 more nurses compared to ten years earlier – an increase of 0.5%, and there were 5,729 more GPs and 1,688 more practice nurses compared to a decade before.

By comparison, the UK had 2.8 physicians per 1,000 people, compared to 4.1 in Germany, 3.8 in Spain, 3.3 in France and 2.6 in Canada.

So, while it’s a huge employer, this figure shows that many of the jobs are not actually medically related – in fact, 49% are Non-Medical / Non-Clinical – which is a massive chunk of the workforce.


A Budget of £115.4 billion

Official figures show that in 1947 the NHS’ budget was £437m (around £9 billion at today’s value), compared to a projected £115.4 billion budget in 2015 – significant growth.

The NHS Confederation revealed the NHS now deals with 1 million patients every 36 hours, with a 32 per cent increase in the number of hospital admissions from the number in 2003, compared to 2014.

Per capita spending has also risen. Stats show an increase of £153 – from £1,841 to 1,994 – in the years between 2009/10 and 2013/14.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) predicts that the UK population will rise to 78 million by 2037 and 132 million a century from now – that’s unless immigration is controlled.

Taking these figures and the NHS’ growth since 1947 into account, it’s clear it will need solid structural investment, with its funding coming direct from taxation.

You can find out more about how the NHS plans to fund itself in its publically available plans.


The NHS Needs You

GoToJobBoard is an online job board that matches quality candidates with Non-Medical/Non-Clinical Jobs in the NHS – See all of our latest vacancies or register for updates straight to your inbox.

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