Healthcare support worker talking with a patient

NHS recruits thousands of additional healthcare support workers

As many as 10,000 new healthcare support workers (HCSWs) have started their roles within the NHS in 2021, as part of a major national recruitment drive.

According to NHS England, a further 5,000 HCSWs are reportedly due to join the workforce - subject to successful pre-employment checks.

NHS England backed the national HCSW recruitment campaign with £45m funding at the end of 2020, with much of the drive’s success put down to a so-called ‘Nightingale effect’ from the pandemic, whereby people were inspired to take up healthcare roles after seeing the efforts of existing staff.

Around half of the 10,000 new starters have reportedly never worked in the health and social care sector before.

Speaking about the success of the campaign, England’s Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May, who fronted the recruitment drive, said: “We are so pleased to be welcoming people from all different walks of life into the NHS.

“The last year has seen nurses and midwives play a leading role in the fight against coronavirus, inspiring millions across England with their skilled and compassionate care.

“A healthcare support worker can be the perfect entry point to the NHS, offering a varied and rewarding career.”

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer at NHS England, added: “Throughout the last year, the world has watched as our inspirational NHS staff have come together in the fight against coronavirus, treating tens of thousands of patients and delivering the biggest vaccination programme in history.

“The increase in staff wanting to join the NHS is in no doubt related to this ‘Nightingale effect’ of the pandemic, and we look forward to welcoming these new recruits into our workforce.”

There are now around 150,000 HCSWs in the health service.

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