NHS chief calls on people to consider lifechanging careers in NHS

The head of the NHS has urged young people to take the best decision they’ll ever make and begin a career in the NHS.

NHS England Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard launches the health service’s annual recruitment drive today, encouraging anyone looking for a career change to consider joining one of hundreds of rewarding roles on offer.

The We are the NHS campaign will shine a light on careers within healthcare and showcase the range of job opportunities available, from nursing to radiography to podiatry.

Last year’s campaign, alongside increased investment for degrees and placements and the extraordinary work of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, prompted a surge in applicants to healthcare degrees, with the number of undergraduate nurses increasing for the third year in a row at this stage.

Amanda said that working for the NHS “lets you live a thousand lives” through the patients and families you care for and said that there was a role for everyone.

There are now more than 1.3 million people working for the NHS, an increase of almost 30,000 since June 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown more than ever that the future of England’s health and social care system relies on its people.

It has been one of busiest summers for the NHS, with staff delivering millions more tests and treatments while caring for thousands more patients in hospital with COVID-19.

This would not have been possible without the collective efforts of NHS staff right across the health service.

Following a meeting with newly qualified nurses and allied health professionals at Imperial College NHS Trust this week, NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “NHS staff have been at the forefront of the country’s response to COVID-19, pulling out all the stops to care for more than 450,000 patients in hospital with coronavirus, while delivering the most successful vaccination programme in health service history.

“Working for the NHS lets you live a thousand lives through the patients and families you care for, and with around 350 different roles to choose from, there is something for everyone.

“Joining the NHS was the best decision I ever made, and I’d encourage anyone, whether you’re a school leaver, recent graduate or simply looking for a new challenge to consider joining – no matter what your experience or qualifications – a fulfilling, rewarding and exciting career awaits”.

On a typical day, over 835,000 people visit their GP practice or practice nurse, while around 50,000 attend A&E departments and 36,000 are in hospital for planned care.

Now in its fourth year, the We are the NHS campaign, in partnership with NHS Health Education England, will see nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers sharing their experiences of life on the frontline.

Craig Royce, a newly qualified nurse who starred in this year’s recruitment advert, said: “I have just joined Great Ormond Street Hospital’s (GOSH’s) scrub team as a newly qualified nurse after moving to London and spending the last three years training with GOSH and South Bank University.

“I’m originally from the North East and previously worked within retail, but having found volunteering with young people very worthwhile, I decided to make a change and pursue a career in helping people.

“I have dyslexia and was never fond of education, but the training for this role has worked really well for me, and I was able to complete my A levels as a mature student alongside another job.

“I would love to see more men consider nursing in the future, it’s a career I wish I had considered sooner”.

Lynne Stevens, who took on a role as a healthcare support worker in Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust’s Gastroenterology Department earlier this year, said: “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was a sales team manager. After taking voluntary redundancy, I took on a temporary role as a ward runner at my local hospital in Portsmouth. I really enjoyed it so a colleague suggested that I apply for a permanent role as a healthcare support worker.

“It’s not something I’d considered before, but you don’t need any healthcare experience; you just need to be compassionate, positive, and hard-working. It can be challenging but it’s worthwhile. It’s a privilege caring for patients”.

Since launching the campaign in 2018, the average number of undergraduates applying to start a nursing degree each year has risen by around 8,000, according to the latest 2021 UCAS data.

Nursing graduates are amongst the most employable, with 94% in work within six months of completing their degree, and there are opportunities to specialise in a range of disciplines, including mental health, community care and paediatrics.

Last year’s We are the NHS campaign saw a 35% increase in nursing applications, a significant increase on the previous year.

Annual payments of at least £5,000 are available to student nurses and those studying degrees related to allied health professions, such as speech and language therapy or occupational therapy.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “Nurses, midwives and healthcare support workers play a leading role in providing world-class care to patients and their families, and I would encourage anyone looking for a varied and rewarding career to consider one of these roles.

“The diversity of the NHS nursing and midwifery workforce is one of its greatest strengths and we encourage people with and without health experience to consider joining us.

“I’ve never been prouder to be a nurse in the NHS, so if you want to make a difference to patients, we look forward to welcoming you to one of the most rewarding jobs you can do”.

Suzanne Rastrick, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer for England, said: “Allied health professionals provide treatment and rehabilitation to adults and children who are ill, have disabilities or special needs, helping them to live life as fully as possible.

“There are a huge range of roles available, from podiatrists and prosthetists to orthoptists and radiographers, so I urge anyone who is interested to search NHS careers and take the first step towards a career in healthcare”.

For more information and to find out more about the range of nursing, allied health professionals, and healthcare support worker roles available within the NHS, search NHS careers.