Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive has celebrated International Nurses Day, saying more nursing courses should be made available to capitalise on the increase in interest in nursing due to COVID-19.
There has been a 220% increase in interest in nursing careers on the NHS careers website since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and NHS England has made 8,000 more clinical placements made available for nurses funded by an additional £10 million. However, this means that there will be approximately 4,000 more placements available than degree courses by the end of the autumn.
MAP has previously reported on concerns and issues raised about NHS staffing capacity, particularly in the core area of nursing. This has been of particular importance in relation to the NHS Long Term Plan and concerns about how it will be implemented in light of NHS staffing challenges.
Sir Simon Stevens said:
“On International Nurses Day the whole country will want to come together to thank nurses who are working so hard to save and rebuild lives in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The biggest global health emergency in a century has put a huge spotlight on the crucial role of nurses not just in the NHS but also in social care.
“We have seen three generations of nurses pitching in to help, not just our current fantastic staff but also retired nurses coming back and student nurses beginning their careers early.
“And looking out across the years ahead we know we are going to need many more nurses.
“So this is an opportunity not just to thank our current nurses but also to invite bright and brilliant and committed people across the country to consider nursing as a career.”
He also suggested that a spring recruitment drive might help to boost nursing numbers. Chief nursing officer, Ruth May supported Sir Simon’s vision, saying:
“Nursing can be challenging but it is also the most rewarding career you can have looking after patients and their families at the happiest times in their life, such as the birth of a child, and at the some of the most difficult.
“I hope people, young and older, will be inspired by the amazing response of our profession to the global coronavirus pandemic and my message to them is: join us.”
The Royal Family has also given thanks to ‘diligent’ and ‘courageous’ nurses around the world for their efforts in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the full article from NHS England here.