FEWER applications are being made to each job advertised in the NHS, new figures reveal.

An average of less than nine applications were submitted to every advertisement for a full-time position published in England between October and December last year, data from NHS Digital shows.

During the same period in 2016 there were just under 10 per role, according to statistics collected from recruitment website NHS Jobs.

Across England there were 35,794 vacant nursing posts (around 10 per cent) between October and December last year, of which 95 per cent were filled with temporary posts.

Between October 1 and December 31 last year, 85,673 advertised NHS jobs attracted a total of 743,690 applications, an average of 8.68 per post.

In 2016, across the same period, 795,871 applications were made to 81,674 jobs, an average of 9.74 per vacancy.

There was also a drop in applications to nursing roles, the figures show.

It comes after the NHS launched the biggest recruitment drive in its history in a bid to attract children to the nursing profession.

Between October and December last year, 34,682 positions were advertised for registered nurses or midwives.

They attracted a total of 91,189 applications, an average of fewer than three applications (2.63) per role.

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, described the figures as "very worrying".

"We also know that not all vacant nurse jobs are even advertised in the current climate, so these figures will be an under-estimate," she said.

"They bear out what patients, their families and our own surveys repeatedly tell us - that there just aren't enough nurses to provide safe care."