Campaign aims to increase number of nurse recruits in London

Positive stories of nursing will be promoted on social media using hashtag #NursingLondon

Nursing and midwifery vacancies in England increased in the first quarter of 2018, which has prompted the launch of a recruitment campaign in the worst-affected area of the country.

RCN London, with support from NHS England, NHS trusts in London, and the CapitalNurse recruitment programme, will begin promoting positive, personal stories of nursing on social media using the hashtag #NursingLondon.

Figures from NHS Digital published today show that advertised full-time equivalent vacancies in the capital have reached an all-time high of 7,941 – a 29% increase, or an extra 1,803 vacancies, since 2015.

In England, the number of advertised vacancies for nursing and midwifery posts rose from 34,682 between 1 October and 31 December 2017, to 34,727 between 1 January and 31 March 2018.

Outside of London, one of the worst-affected areas is the east of England, with 4,567 vacancies, compared with 4,393 in the same period in 2017.

Questioning the figures

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said the figures for England could be an underestimate, with not all posts advertised by trusts.

She warned that the situation could worsen, with fewer applicants for nursing degrees following the move to loan-based funding.

Speaking ahead of the new recruitment campaign for the capital, RCN London director Jude Diggins said: ‘Nursing is about being with people in their most vulnerable state, from the beginning of life right through to the end.

‘It is an incredibly rewarding and exciting career, and London remains the best city in the world to be a nurse.

‘But unfortunately, a climate of negativity driven by austerity and pressures on the health system has caused a career in nursing to become perceived as less attractive. The #NursingLondon campaign is about nursing staff across the capital celebrating the work they do and inspiring the nurses of tomorrow.’

She hopes the campaign will ‘change the narrative’ around nursing and healthcare, by celebrating what a ‘fantastic career nursing is’.

‘Unparalleled opportunities’

NHS England and NHS Improvement regional chief nurse for London Oliver Shanley said: ‘The perception of nursing can often be very different to the reality.

‘The role of nursing is about caring for people, but it can provide a varied career that includes the use of technology, working on research into disease, fantastic opportunities that can take a nurse into mental health, or working with children or with people who have learning difficulties.

‘With world-class health services, diverse workforces and fantastic opportunities to work in challenging and rewarding environments, London provides unparalleled opportunities for nurses and midwives.’

This latest initiative comes weeks after NHS England launched the ‘We are the NHS’ national recruitment campaign, with advertising on television, radio, posters and social media.

Commenting on the new vacancy figures, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We want to make sure we continue to attract and retain the very best for our outstanding NHS. We are listening to staff and have encouraged more flexible working, boosted training places and given over a million NHS employees a thoroughly-deserved pay rise.’

The spokesperson added that there is no single definition of how a vacancy is counted, and that NHS Digital was working with NHS Improvement to develop a consistent approach to calculating vacancy figures.

Related material

Watch the ‘We are the NHS’ promotional video for nursing

NHS Digital report with vacancy figures

In other news

NHS pay deal: RCN general secretary issues extraordinary personal apology

Number of overseas nurses registering in the UK is going up

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.