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Nurse recruitment drive begins in England amid strike action vote

Campaign highlights a rewarding career in a bid to tackle country’s almost 47,000 nurse vacancies, but RCN says staff must be ‘paid a fair salary’

Campaign highlights a rewarding career in a bid to tackle country’s almost 47,000 nurse vacancies, but RCN says staff must be ‘paid a fair salary’

The NHS in England has launched a national recruitment drive to fill tens of thousands of nursing vacancies around the country.

It comes as health and care staff prepare for what is expected to be one of the worst winters in the NHS’s history, with the combined impact of flu, COVID-19 and a record number of nurse vacancies in England, reaching almost 47,000 at the end of June.

‘Life-changing’

Campaign highlights a rewarding career in a bid to tackle country’s almost 47,000 nurse vacancies, but RCN says staff must be ‘paid a fair salary’

An image from the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign

The NHS in England has launched a national recruitment drive to fill tens of thousands of nursing vacancies around the country.

It comes as health and care staff prepare for what is expected to be one of the worst winters in the NHS’s history, with the combined impact of flu, COVID-19 and a record number of nurse vacancies in England, reaching almost 47,000 at the end of June.

‘Life-changing’ role of nurses

England’s chief nurse Ruth May described nursing as a ‘life-changing profession’ where people can make a difference to someone’s life.

‘As we approach the winter months and NHS services gear up to manage higher demand, it’s clear the difference that nurses make to the health service every day,’ she said. ‘And I urge anyone considering a career where they want to really make a difference to find out more.’

Pay nurses fairly if you want new recruits, says RCN

But RCN director for England Patricia Marquis said while the campaign highlights a rewarding career, ‘it is all futile until nursing staff are paid a fair salary’.

She added: ‘Each and every day, nursing staff give everything they have to care for their patients, but a decade of real terms pay cuts means many can’t even afford to feed their children or put petrol in their car to get to work.

‘The only way to solve the workforce crisis and recruit and retain nursing staff is to pay them fairly.’

Nurses vote on strike action as record numbers quit

The RCN is currently balloting its 300,000 members on strike action over poor pay and working conditions. The college said there is ‘anger and motivation like never before’.

Many nurses are quitting

The recruitment drive comes as record numbers of nurses are quitting the profession in England, with many leaving for better paid jobs in shops and bars.

The campaign – called We Are The NHS – spotlights the varied NHS nursing roles on offer and features patients who recount how nurses helped them towards recovery.

NHS England said that more than six in 10 people are considering a career change over the next year, claiming nursing degrees offer strong employment prospects with 94% of nursing graduates able to find a job within six months.

Call for fully funding nursing courses

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

But campaigners have long been calling for the return of fully funded nursing courses to better support students after the government scrapped nursing bursaries in 2017 and replaced them with tuition fees and loans.


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