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NHS data don’t confirm Labour’s claim of 100 000 vacant posts in England

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5925 (Published 28 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5925
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The NHS in England has more than 100 000 unfilled posts, claims a survey by the Labour Party. But the figures have been difficult to confirm, and the NHS trust with the highest number of vacancies lists a 10th the number of jobs on its website that the survey indicates.

Labour sent freedom of information requests to 82 trusts—just over a third of all hospital and community service trusts—asking for the number of vacancies on 31 March 2017, which totalled 35 993 unfilled full-time equivalent posts.

Extrapolated to the whole NHS in England, this implied a figure of more than 100 000, a 9% vacancy rate. A typical UK business has a vacancy rate of …

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