Thousands of healthcare support workers join the NHS

The NHS has boosted support for patients, their families and staff by recruiting 10,000 healthcare support workers (HCSWs) in the first three months of the year.

Deemed the result of the ‘Nightingale effect’, the new staff will support the workforce and assist nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals to perform health checks, update patient records, help patients wash, dress and move around, and care for women and families in maternity services. They will also support people with mental health conditions, learning disabilities, and autism.

Data shows of the 10,000 new staff, half are completely new to health and social care – clear evidence of the ‘Nightingale effect’ caused by the coronavirus pandemic. They will be joined by a further 5,000 HCSWs who will start work following successful pre-employment checks.

There are around 150,000 HCSWs in the health service, and in a drive to reduce vacancies and bolster the workforce, the NHS invested £45 million in recruiting more. A total of 10,611 have begun careers with NHS providers since 1 January.

HCSWs are an essential part of a healthcare team and are at the very heart of patient care, working under the supervision of healthcare professionals to help patients on their journey back to full health.

Prerana Issar, chief people officer, said: “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.”

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