Nursing boost for England’s NHS

Hospitals, mental health and community trusts in England are set to receive a multi million-pound boost to help recruit thousands more nurses.

With the NHS continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing all routine services back online and preparing for winter, England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Ruth May, has written to nurse leaders setting out support available to help accelerate recruitment.

The financial offer includes a £28 million fund to support international nurses and midwives who are waiting in the wings to join the NHS front line.

Ruth said: “Thousands of nurses from across the globe had their plans to join the NHS derailed by Coronavirus, but overseas nurses have now started to travel to the UK and take up positions in hospitals and other trusts.

“This international recruitment fund will help NHS organisations pay for additional costs incurred because of Coronavirus, including accommodation, flights and quarantine.”

While international recruitment is part of the NHS People Plan, it is only one of the ways the NHS is boosting its nursing and midwifery numbers this winter.

The NHS’ workforce package sets out how a £1.7 million fund has been made available to regional nursing teams to recruit health care support workers in NHS organisations with the highest vacancy rates. In addition, trusts are being encouraged to make the most of the 6,000 nurses who signed up to a temporary register and have now completed pre employment checks.

Ruth said: “This has been the most challenging year in NHS history and nurses and midwives have stepped up in ways never seen before. Their efforts throughout this global pandemic have inspired a whole new generation of people to take up a career in the NHS.”

According to the latest NHS Digital data, there are now more than 300,000 nurses in England after more than 13,442 nurses joined the NHS. And this year there was a 22% increase in applications for nursing degrees.