NHS TV advertising campaign to recruit thousands of nurses in landmark 70th year launched in South East

As the NHS launches the biggest recruitment drive in its 70 year history in the south east, new research has shown the special place that its staff hold in the hearts of people in the region.

Doctors and nurses top the poll as the most trusted and respected professions for people in the south east, according to the research carried out for the major new campaign, ‘We are the NHS’.

The survey found that half of people in the south east would choose nurses as one of the professions they trust the most and 39% of people said they were some of the most important roles in society.

But the majority of the public surveyed did not know the wide range of careers available working as a nurse, only 3% knew that nurses worked in mental health and one third could not name a nursing role outside of hospital like district nurses.

The £8 million campaign will highlight the vast range of opportunities available in the NHS for potential new recruits and will initially put the spotlight on the 540,000-strong nursing profession, prioritising key areas including mental health, learning disability and community and primary care nurses, in a bid to encourage people in the south east to choose nursing as a career.

England’s most senior nurse, Professor Jane Cummings said the survey findings showed why young people should feel inspired to choose a career in the NHS but that more needed to be done to highlight the vast range of opportunities available for talented and dedicated people.

The new campaign, which kicks off in the week of the NHS’s 70th birthday on July 5, features TV and radio advertising, posters and social media and will primarily target school children aged 14-18.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

“The NHS is our country’s most loved institution and that is down to the expert skill, dedication and compassion of its brilliant staff.

“There are over 350 careers available within the NHS giving young people an astonishing range of options. Nursing and midwifery make up the largest part of the workforce and as I know from personal experience, provides a unique opportunity to make a real difference to peoples’ lives in a way that simply cannot be matched.

“Nurses and midwives provide expert skilled care and compassion, and they are highly talented leaders in the NHS. This campaign is all about inspiring young people and others who want a change of career to come and work for the NHS and have a rewarding and fulfilling career that makes a real difference.”

The campaign aims to increase the total number of applications into the NHS by 22,000 as well as double the numbers of nurses returning to practice and improve retention of staff in all sectors. It will recognise the incredible contribution and impact of NHS staff who treat over one million patients every 24 hours across the country in GP surgeries, hospitals and at home, as part of the biggest recruitment drive in NHS history.

Despite having respect from the public, the campaign research found demonstrable differences in the expectations of parents’ in the south east for sons and daughters. Only 38% of parents said they would be proud of their son being a nurse, whereas 59% would be proud if their daughters became nurses.  35% were unable to name roles that they can work in other than hospitals.

Further findings suggest they are unaware of the skills and opportunities available in 21stcentury nursing, the vast majority saw nurses first and foremost as ‘caring’ but far fewer saw them as ‘leaders’, ‘innovators’ and ‘academics.’

The NHS treats over 1.4 million people every 24 hours – while around two-thirds of the 540,000-strong nursing workforce are based in hospitals, one-third work in other settings including providing care in people’s homes and in GP surgeries.

As well as the national recruitment campaign, NHS England is leading work with over 800 nursing and midwifery ambassadors who are helping to change the perceptions of these professions to help parents, teachers and young people see nursing and midwifery as a career of choice.


Video links

Version 1 (30 secs):

Version 2 (30 secs):

Full-length version (90 seconds):

Notes to Editors

  • People in the South East were most likely to say that the characteristics needed to be a nurse were to be caring (84%), dedicated (78%), hardworking (74%) a good communicator (67%) and skilled (67%). Characteristics less likely to be seen as needed in a nurse were being creative (15%), a leader (15%) and entrepreneurial (7%).
  • From the list of professions, nurses came in third (39%) after doctors (57%) and teachers (45%) for professions that have the most important role to play in society today (top three).


About NHS England

NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England – setting the priorities and direction, encouraging and informing the national debate to improve health and care.

The NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours and employs more than 1.5 million people, putting it in the top five of the world’s largest workforces NHS England shares out more than £100 billion in funds and holds organisations to account for spending this money effectively for patients and efficiently for the tax payer. It strongly believes in health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.


NHS South East contact:
Tasha Gardner

01138 251447