Since April 2017, NHS Improvement has collected vacancy rates of medical and nursing staff from individual National Health Service providers and publish them as part of their Quarterly performance of the NHS provider sector report.
The latest NHS Improvement estimate is that in England, there are 41,722 whole time equivalent nursing vacancies, of which approximately 80% are being filled by a combination of bank and agency staff, as at 30 June 2018.
NHS Improvement also estimated that in England there are 11,576 whole time equivalent doctor vacancies, of which approximately 85% are being filled by a combination of bank and agency staff, as at 30 June 2018.
However, the bank and agency staff are not purely covering the vacancy gap. The temporary staff will also be used to backfill for sickness, maternity and secondments. We are committed to ensuring nursing remains an attractive career so the NHS builds on the record number of nurses currently on wards.
We have put in place several actions to increase nursing workforce supply, covering improving staff retention, return to practice, overseas recruitment, expanding nursing associates, improving sickness absence and review of language controls.