The health service in England has launched its annual recruitment drive after experiencing one of its busiest ever summers.
There are now 1.3 million people working in the NHS, an increase of almost 30,000 since June 2020, but hundreds of roles are on offer, from nursing and radiography to podiatry.
Last year’s campaign, alongside increased investment for degrees and placements and the extraordinary work of NHS staff throughout the pandemic, prompted a surge in applicants to healthcare degrees, with the number of undergraduate nurses increasing for the third year in a row at this stage.
Staff have delivered millions more tests and treatments this summer while caring for thousands more patients in hospital with Covid.
Following a meeting with newly qualified nurses and allied health professionals at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust this week, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “NHS staff have been at the forefront of the country’s response to Covid-19, pulling out all the stops to care for more than 450,000 patients in hospital with coronavirus, while delivering the most successful vaccination programme in health service history.
“Working for the NHS lets you live a thousand lives through the patients and families you care for, and with around 350 different roles to choose from, there is something for everyone.
“Joining the NHS was the best decision I ever made, and I’d encourage anyone, whether you’re a school leaver, recent graduate or simply looking for a new challenge, to consider joining – no matter what your experience or qualifications – a fulfilling, rewarding and exciting career awaits.”
On a typical day, more than 835,000 people visit their GP practice or practice nurse, while around 50,000 attend A&E departments and 36,000 are in hospital for planned care.
Now in its fourth year, the We are the NHS campaign, in partnership with NHS Health Education England, will see nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare support workers sharing their experiences of life on the front line.
Since launching the campaign in 2018, the average number of undergraduates applying to start a nursing degree each year has risen by around 8,000, according to the latest 2021 Ucas data.
Nursing graduates are among the most employable, with 94% in work within six months of completing their degree, and there are opportunities to specialise in a range of disciplines, including mental health, community care and paediatrics.
Last year’s campaign saw a 35% increase in nursing applications, a significant increase on the previous year.
Annual payments of at least £5,000 are available to student nurses and those studying degrees related to allied health professions, such as speech and language therapy or occupational therapy.
Suzanne Rastrick, chief allied health professions officer for England, said: “Allied health professionals provide treatment and rehabilitation to adults and children who are ill, have disabilities or special needs, helping them to live life as fully as possible.
“There are a huge range of roles available, from podiatrists and prosthetists to orthoptists and radiographers, so I urge anyone who is interested to search NHS careers and take the first step towards a career in healthcare.”
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