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Northern Ireland health and social care workforce vacancies – September 2013

The DHSSPS today released details of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care (HSC) Workforce Vacancies 30 September 2013 report.
Thursday, 10 April 2014

This statistical publication presents an analysis of vacancies actively being recruited to, by occupational group, staff group, organisation, and pay band. In addition consultant specialities and hospital location of medical and dental vacancies are included.


At 30 September 2013, there were a total of 1,498 (1,332.0 whole-time equivalent, or ‘WTE’) permanent vacancies actively being recruited to by HSC organisations. This represents a vacancy rate of 2.4%, based on whole-time equivalent. A post does not have to be unoccupied in order to be counted as a vacancy. HSC organisations may fill certain vacancies on a temporary basis or may forward plan to fill a vacancy where, for example, forthcoming retirements are known. At 30th September 2013, there were also 918 (801.9 WTE) temporary vacancies. Every year HSC organisations experience several thousand leavers from and movements between their organisations, hence the level of vacancies being reported in these publications.

Key Points

  • The overall vacancy rate (of permanent posts that organisations are actively trying to fill) within Health & Social Care was 2.3% at 30th September 2012 and increased slightly to 2.4% at 31st March 2013. At 30 September 2013, it remained steady at 2.4%.
  • At 30 September 2013, current vacancy rates were highest amongst the Medical & Dental staff grouping. The vacancy rate by whole-time equivalent was 4.0% (or 155.2 WTE vacancies). This is a growing workforce.
  • The second highest current vacancy rate was for Professional & Technical posts at 3.3%, representing 236.7 WTE permanent vacancies. This is also a growing workforce, comprising Allied Health Professionals, technical and scientific grades, and support staff.
  • At 30 September 2013, vacancy numbers were highest amongst the Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting occupational group at 470 (419.1 WTE) vacancies. This staff group, however, is so large that this represents a WTE vacancy rate of just 2.3%. Of these vacancies, 81% were for qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors (bands 5 and above) and 19% were for nurse support roles (bands 2-4).
  • There were 95 (90.1 WTE) permanent vacancies and 51 (46.8 WTE) temporary vacancies for medical consultant posts at 30 September 2013

Notes to editors:

  1. The NI Health & Social Care Workforce Vacancy Survey is an established survey carried out on a biannual basis. Information is collected directly from HSC organisations.
  2. The report is published on the Departmental website.
  3. A current vacancy is a post which at 30 September 2013 the organisation was actively trying to fill. A long-term vacancy is a post which had been advertised on or prior to 30 June 2013, but remained unfilled at 30 September 2013 despite active recruitment efforts. The vacancy rates are defined as the total whole-time equivalent number of permanent vacancies expressed as a percentage of the total whole-time equivalent staff complement (i.e. permanent vacancies plus staff in post).
  4. Further information on the NI HSC Workforce is available from:
    Workforce Section
    Project Support Analysis Branch
    Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
    Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
    Stormont, BT4 3SQ
    Tel: 028 90 522342
    Fax: 028 90 523288
    Internet: NI Health & Social Care Workforce Vacancy Survey
  5. For media enquiries please contact the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575.