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Mental health and learning disabilities workforce in the NHS

This interactive report allows users to explore trends in the size and composition of the mental health and learning disabilities (MHLD) workforce in England.

This report covers staff based in NHS hospital and community health services, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups. It presents workforce information which is already in the public domain at NHS Workforce Statistics.

The purpose of this report is to provide clear and accessible information about the MHLD workforce. It includes interactive breakdowns by staff group and allows users to investigate trends in the MHLD workforce over time. This analysis does not cover independent sector healthcare providers, primary care or social care providers, or staff in NHS central and support organisations.

The visualisations in this report show four ways in which the MHLD workforce can be counted:

  1. By the type of organisation that staff work for.
  2. By the specialty or care setting in which staff work.
  3. By the primary area of work that staff work in.
  4. By combining these three groups to produce the widest possible view of mental health staff.

NHS Digital has consulted experts to develop a preferred way of measuring the MHLD workforce, and this work is now complete. NHS Digital has now released analysis utilising this new and more precise way to count the MHLD workforce, in the December 2018 release  of NHS Workforce Statistics.

The new measure is based on those individuals who directly provide or support the provision of mental health services and not on the organisation they are employed by. The difference between the new definition and the widest possible definition (method four) is that the new definition does not count staff in mental health trusts that do not provide, or support the provision of, mental health services.

In this report, staff are counted as full time equivalent (FTE). A person working full-time has an FTE of one and someone working part-time will have an FTE lower than one, dependent on contracted hours.

Mental health and learning disabilities workforce totals

Four ways of counting the MHLD workforce are shown in this visualisation: 

Mental Health Cluster

Based on the type of organisation that staff work for. This looks at organisations specialising in providing MHLD services. Care trusts have been included in this category as they provide MHLD services and analysis showed that their staff profile is similar to MHLD trusts. This method of counting staff produces larger totals than other methods as it includes support staff for MHLD activity and some staff working in non-MHLD areas (where a trust specialises in MHLD but also provides other services). However, it excludes, for example, staff working on MHLD in acute settings. 

MHLD Specialities/Care Setting

Based on the specialty or care setting for which staff work. Note that this excludes staff performing important support functions to enable MHLD care to take place.

Psychiatry Primary Area of Work

Based on the primary area of work to which staff are assigned. Note that this method excludes staff providing an MHLD service in a different area such as A and E.

Combined MHLD workforce measure

Calculated by combining these three groups we can produce the widest possible view of the MHLD workforce. This is not the same as adding the totals from the three groups as they can overlap. For example, staff working in the Mental Health Cluster may also have a primary area of work that is psychiatry. The Venn diagram in this visualisation illustrates this overlap. The combined total is shown in the box. Note that as this combined measure includes the Mental Health Cluster, it includes some staff that do not work in MHLD services.

You can select a date to view staff numbers by the different ways of counting the MHLD workforce at the end of that month.

Mental health and learning disabilities workforce totals by staff group and time series

This visualisation shows trends in the MHLD workforce over time. You can select a date range and staff groups to show breakdowns across all four ways of counting the MHLD workforce. Hover your mouse over a visual to display results in the tooltip.

Data is available from 2009, but not all comparisons can go back that far. September 2009 is the start point for measures not dependent on organisation type. The Mental Health Cluster Group is dependent on organisation type and due to organisational change in the NHS, comparable data is only available from September 2013.

Mental health and learning disabilities (MHLD) workforce totals by Health Education England (HEE) area, staff group and time series

This visualisation shows time series of trends in the MHLD workforce by Health Education England (HEE) area. You can select a date range and staff group to show trends by HEE area across all four ways of counting the MHLD workforce. Hover your mouse over a visual to display results in the tooltip.

How to use this tool

This tool is best used by expanding to full screen mode, using the diagonal arrows located at the bottom right of each visualisation.

To filter results, please refer to the specific instructions which accompany each visualisation.

To change the date range shown in any time series view, select the required date range using either the slider bar or by left clicking on the date to bring up the calendar date selection.

To clear filtered results, hover your mouse underneath any filtered option heading to enable the ‘Clear selections’ eraser icon. Select this icon to clear previous selections and filtered results.

What you can find out

  1. The size of the mental health and learning disability (MHLD) NHS workforce based in NHS hospital and community health services, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, according to four different ways of counting: Mental Health Cluster; MHLD Specialities/Care Setting, Psychiatry Primary Area of Work, or a combination of these groupings.
  2. How the MHLD workforce has changed over time, according to four different ways of counting, including the ability to investigate the data by staff group and geographical area.

What the report can't tell you

  1. How many staff are working in the MHLD workforce according to the new definition. This information is not yet shown in these visualisations but can be accessed in the December 2018 release of NHS Workforce Statistics.
  2. How many staff are working in independent sector healthcare providers (including social enterprises, community interest companies and those providing Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services), primary care, social care providers, staff in NHS central and support organisations.

Notes and data sources

  1. Further information on the methodological decision making for the MHLD groupings used in these visualisations is available in the Mental health and learning disabilities workforce experimental analysis supplementary report. This supplement formed part of the NHS Workforce Statistics October 2017 publication.
  2. Underlying data and further information on NHS workforce publications is available at NHS Workforce Statistics. The information used in this report is published each quarter and is categorised as ‘experimental statistics’. These are statistics which are new and undergoing evaluation. Publication of these statistics is intended to support and inform the development of national measures.
  3. Please note that these statistics relate to snapshots of the MHLD workforce taken at the end of each quarterly reporting period. Although it is possible to select individual months and part months in these visualisations, the underlying statistics are not provided at this level of detail.

Suppression

Data contained in this report is not rounded or suppressed as it is highly aggregated to either national or Health Education England (HEE) area level and is therefore not considered to be disclosive.

Last edited: 17 May 2019 2:17 pm