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Physiotherapy Workforce Statistics

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

The number of physiotherapists employed in the NHS is on the rise. More details here...

Last month the Department of Health released the latest NHS workforce census survey results for England, as at 30 September 2004. The figures show that the numbers (headcount) of qualified physiotherapists in the NHS have risen from 17,922 in 2003 to 19,139 in 2004: a rise of 1,217 or 6.8%. This is the highest rise yet and compares to an increase of 6.2% between 2002 and 2003.


In terms of whole time equivalents (WTE) the figures show a rise from 14,455 to 15,564, an increase of 1,109 or 7.7%. Since 1999 there has been an increase in headcount of 27% and an increase in whole time equivalents of 29%.


Yet again there was a fall in the number of those classified as support to physiotherapy, from 4,196 to 4,109: the third year in a row that numbers have fallen, but this may be due to the fact that some are being classified as Health Care Assistants or multi-therapy assistants.


Physiotherapy saw the biggest rise among all the AHPs. The overall increase in headcount for AHPs was from 55,946 to 58,959 (an increase of 3,013 or 5.4%).


Commenting on the statistics, Kate Moran, Head of Employment Relations Research at the CSP, said:


'We welcome this significant increase in numbers which is the biggest percentage rise for at least the last 10 years, and possibly ever. It is important that the Department of Health keeps up its work on ensuring workforce numbers are increased in order to meet its target of 24,800 physios by 2009. We still have major concerns about the lack of detailed workforce planning which have led to the recent problems that newly qualified physiotherapists have faced in finding their first junior post in the NHS, and we will continue to work with the DH to tackle this.'


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