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Northern Ireland Health and Social Care workforce vacancies – September 2012

The DHSSPS today released details of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care (HSC) Workforce Vacancies 30 September 2012 report.
Thursday, 31 January 2013

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 2012, there were a total of 1,423 (1,262 whole-time equivalent, or ‘WTE’) permanent vacancies actively being recruited to by HSC organisations. This represents a vacancy rate of 2.3%, 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 30 September 2012, there were also 865 (729.6 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 decreased from 2.6% at 31st March 2012 to 2.3% at 30th September 2012.
  • At 30 September 2012, current vacancy rates were highest amongst the Generic staff grouping, which usually describes staff in one of a small number of multidisciplinary roles. The vacancy rate by whole-time equivalent was 19.8%. While this appears high, it is representative of only 9 (8.5 WTE) vacancies.
  • The second highest current vacancy rate was for Professional & Technical posts at 3.4%, representing 252 (235.5 WTE) permanent vacancies. Of these, 71.4% were for qualified Allied Health Professional/Pharmacist/Psychologist/Optometrist/Scientist (Band 5+) posts and 28.6% were for support roles to these grades (Bands 1-4).
  • At 30 September 2012, vacancy numbers were highest amongst the Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting occupational group at 481 (432.9 WTE) vacancies. This represents a WTE vacancy rate of 2.4%. Of these vacancies, 69.9% were for qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors (bands 5 and above) and 30.1% were for nurse support roles (bands 2-4).
  • There were 57 (56.0 WTE) permanent vacancies and 19 (19.0 WTE) temporary vacancies at 30 September 2012 for medical consultant posts.

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 at:

3. A current vacancy is a post which at 30 September 2012 the organisation was actively trying to fill. A long-term vacancy is a post which had been advertised on or prior to 31 March 2012, but remained unfilled at 30 September 2012 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

5. Media queries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0571 or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.