The number of managers working in the NHS has risen by 12 per cent in one year, new figures show.

In 2009, the NHS employed 44,660 managers and senior managers - up 4,750 (12 per cent) since 2008.

The figure also represents an 84 per cent rise on the 20,370 employed in 1999, with a yearly average rise of 6.3 per cent over the last decade.

The overall data, from the NHS Information Centre, showed NHS staff numbers reached 1,432,000 in 2009 - an increase of 63,300 (4.6 per cent) on the previous year and a 30 per cent rise since 1999.

There were 725,580 professionally qualified clinical staff in 2009, up 23,750 (3.4 per cent) on 2008 and 183,810 (34 per cent) on 1999.

Within this group, there was a 2 per cent rise in the number of nurses and a 5 per cent rise in the number of qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff.

Some 51,500 hospital doctors were in training (up 5 per cent on 2008 figures), while there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of consultants and a 3 per cent rise in the number of midwives.

In 2009, school nurses increased by 110 (8 per cent) on 2008 to reach 1,527 and by 1,057 (225 per cent) since 2003.

However, the workforce census figures also revealed staff numbers falling in other areas.

The number of GP practice nurses fell by 110 (0.5 per cent) to 21,940 while the number of health visitors fell by 440 (4.1 per cent) to 10,390.

This is a 17 per cent fall (2,060 health visitors) since 1999 or a 1.8 per cent fall per year over the last decade.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The NHS must continue to improve patient care, generating efficiency savings by reducing management and back-office costs, and implementing new ways of working.

“That is why it was announced in December, through the NHS operating framework, that the NHS will reduce management costs by 30 per cent by 2013-14.”