Prime time telly boost for NHS jobs

Google searches for ‘ambulance jobs’ shoot up by 70 per cent as prime time TV viewers are gripped by the real-life emergencies paramedics and 999 call handlers are responding to, with the latest episode of Ambulance airing tonight.

As the weekly BBC documentary series, which follows paramedics and call handlers from the London Ambulance Service, was broadcast last Wednesday (23 September), and viewers watched control room staff dispatch ambulance crews to patients in critical conditions, searches for ‘ambulance dispatcher salary’ and ‘ambulance call handler pay’ shot up by 1,200%.

It comes in the week that research showed nearly a quarter of young people want to be doctors, nurses and paramedics when they grow up while workforce data showed the number of nurses and doctors has increased by 24,000.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, said: “Normally inspired by footballers and YouTube stars, this year more than ever, young people are seeing frontline NHS workers as their heroes and want to grow up and be just like the doctor, nurse or paramedic they have seen on TV.

“The ‘Nightingale effect’ of the public seeing on TV the relentless professionalism and compassion of NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics during the first wave, has clearly made a difference, not just to the 110,000 COVID-19 patients we cared for, but to the lives of young people.”

Earlier this year, millions of viewers tuned in to the prime-time BBC documentary series Hospital which followed the staff of the Royal Free London hospital as they responded to the first wave of the pandemic.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service paramedic, Matondo Manzeninga, was inspired to become a paramedic after watching NHS documentaries on TV. He said: “I was only 15, but I became really interested in watching medical programmes – not things like Casualty, but serious documentaries.

“I was fascinated by everything that went on. Around the same time, I remember starting to notice ambulances racing around town and thinking that it just looked so cool. I realised that I’d like to do something medical when I left college, so I started reading up about paramedics and it really appealed.”

This year’s UCAS figures show that there are 4,360 more nursing students placed onto courses in England than at the same point in 2019 – a 22% increase.

Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May, said: “The NHS will always need compassionate, talented and expert individuals, whether you are straight out of school or looking to find a more rewarding career later on in life.

“Your NHS still needs you, so search ‘Nursing Careers’ today.”