Primary numbers

The 2.7 million-strong National Health Service workforce referred to in "A healthy e-volution" ( THES , May 16) probably includes not only NHS staff but also those working in the independent and voluntary sector and other direct services that may or may not be in health and social care.

The most recent statistics from September 2001 show that in total about 1,036,370 people were employed in NHS hospital and community services. This is roughly 837,300 whole-time-equivalents.

This does not include GPs (31,835) and staff directly employed and contracted out by GPs (about 80,000). If you include GPs and other primary care staff, the figure would amount to 1.2 million at most.

And while the winner of the contract to provide the NHS University with an e-learning platform will indeed have gained a major prize, it is doubtful whether the exercise is intended to reach "one-tenth" of the entire UK workforce.

Dianne M. Jeffrey
Chairman
The NHS Confederation

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