Everyone in England needs healthcare, so you might imagine that NHS jobs would be fairly evenly distributed based on population.* That isn’t quite the case, as this interactive map, using data from the NHS Information Centre on the largest English NHS employers and each region, shows.
Map removed as Google Fusion Tables no longer works.
The region with the most NHS jobs per resident is the north-east of England, with more than 24 full-time equivalent (FTE) NHS staff per 1,000 residents. It also hosts two of the 19 NHS organisations employing more than 7,000 FTE staff, including one of the six employing more than 10,000 – Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals foundation trust.
The three NHS North regions all have more than 20 FTE NHS jobs per 1,000 people, with Manchester hosting two of the biggest employers, Central Manchester University Hospitals and Pennine Acute Hospitals. (The city has several other smaller hospital trusts, such as Salford Hope.) Leeds Teaching Hospitals was the largest NHS employer when these figures were produced last January, with more than 13,000 FTE staff.
The region with the fewest NHS jobs per person is South Central (the middle chunk of the south of England, 16 FTE NHS jobs per thousand people), although South East Coast and East of England (East Anglia) have only slightly higher levels. However, part or all of each these regions is within commuting distance of London, which has a concentration of NHS jobs – 21 FTE staff per thousand residents – and four of the NHS employers with more than 7,000 FTE staff. (It also has one of the 10,000+ employers, Guy’s and St Thomas’, and when the figures are revised Barts Health – the result of an April merger of three NHS trusts in east London – is likely to move into this category as well.) And when it comes to doctors, the NHS in London employs 2.7 FTEs for every 1,000 residents, by far the highest in England. This is partly justified by the fact that it serves the surrounding regions – although it also probably has too many hospitals.
There is an argument that more NHS resources should be targeted at areas with poorer health. It’s true that some of the lowest life expectancies are in the north, but at least some of the higher level of employment is likely to be due to a legacy of hospitals built when the area was economically stronger.
* NHS jobs information for each UK nation is collected and published independently and in different formats by the governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which is why this map only covers England.