NI Health and Social Care Workforce Census – March 2023

Date published: 23 August 2023

The Department of Health today released details of the NI Health and Social Care (HSC) Workforce Census as at 31 March 2023.

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This statistical publication presents an analysis of staff in post by occupational family, organisation, gender, working pattern and age. Summary information on staff turnover is also included.

The publication covers the majority of HSC hospital, community and social services workforce (72,687 staff in post or 64,688 whole-time equivalent [WTE]). Bank/sessional staff are excluded, as are members of staff on career breaks, Chairpersons/Members of Boards and those recorded with less than 0.03 WTE. Domiciliary care staff have also been excluded, as their recorded whole-time equivalent currently does not reflect their contribution to the service.

Key Points

  • The HSC workforce grew by 20% (10,777 WTE) between 2014 and 2023.
  • The Belfast HSC Trust was the largest Trust and the largest HSC Organisation within Northern Ireland, employing 29% of all HSC staff (18,805 WTE) at March 2023.
  • The largest Occupational Family was Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting with 21,863 WTE. They represented 34% of the workforce by WTE.
  • The Medical and Dental workforce stood at 5,254 (4,833 WTE). Forty-one per cent (1,972 WTE) were graded as Consultants.
  • Of all staff, 36% (23,021 WTE) were employed in Agenda for Change Pay Bands 1-4.
  • Seventy-eight per cent (56,895 headcount) of staff were female.

Notes to editors: 

1. The publication is published on the Departmental website at:

2. The information was collected from the Human Resources, Payroll, Travel and Subsistence database which is maintained by the various HSC organisations. The analyses presented in the publication exclude bank staff (who fill staffing shortfalls to maintain service delivery) and domiciliary care staff. These staff were excluded because, due to the variable nature of their work, their recorded whole-time equivalent currently does not reflect their contribution to the service. Figures also exclude staff on career breaks, non-Trust staff and Chairpersons/Members of Boards. Note this publication does not report on General Practitioners and General Dental Practitioners as they are independent contractors rather than employees of HSC organisations.

3. WTE (Whole Time equivalent) is calculated by aggregating the total number of hours staff in a particular grade are contracted to work and dividing by the standard hours for that grade. In this way, part-time staff are converted into an equivalent number of 'whole-time' staff.

4. Headcount is number of individuals working in active posts. This counts individuals only once, regardless of how many posts they hold.  Where information is broken down by various categories, individuals will be counted once in each category they hold an active post.  

5. Regional Services includes the following organisations: Business Services Organisation, Public Health Agency, Patient Client Council, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HSC Trust, Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, Children’s Court Guardian Agency for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Practice & Education Council, Northern Ireland Social Care Council, Strategic Planning and Performance Group, Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority and Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency.

6. Additional Information.
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
Tel:            028 90 522493

7. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email

8. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.

9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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