Labour nominees on NHS boards outnumber Tories by two to one following a 1,000-strong influx of new non-executives since the election, an HSJ analysis of figures released by the Department of Health last week reveals.

A board-by-board breakdown of declared political affiliations in the DoH's Public Appointments Annual Report shows 256 Labour activists, 134 Conservatives and 33 Liberal Democrats.

The count is likely to under-represent the real number of Tory non-executives - those appointed before 1 July 1996 were not required to declare political affiliations. But it demonstrates a substantial boost in Labour numbers.

At the time of the November 1996 annual report, those declaring Tory affiliations outnumbered Labour supporters by two to one.

This year's report also shows that women account for 36 per cent of health authority and trust chairs and 52 per cent of non-executive directors appointed in the year since the election, while 9 per cent came from ethnic minorities.

DoH Public Appointments Annual Report . NHS Executive, Room 4W59, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE. Free.