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Over 100 workers join NHS in Cornwall during pandemic

Over 100 workers join NHS in Cornwall during pandemic

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:00pm 2nd August 2020.

More than 100 new NHS workers joined the Cornwall Partnership Trust in April during the first peak of the coronavirus crisis, new figures show.

The Government has praised the contribution made by new and returning healthcare workers during the pandemic – but experts say action is needed to address recruitment concerns long term.

NHS workforce figures show there were 3,867 members of staff employed at the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in April, ​142 more than during March.

The biggest increase in workers was among those in clinical support roles, whose numbers swelled from 1,317 to 1,401.

This included 6 workers who were directly supporting doctors and nurses. The NHS says many new starters in this group will have been student doctors or nurses who were fast tracked into employment to help fight the virus.

Meantime more than a dozen new doctors joined the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust during April.

This included seven new Foundation Year 1 doctors, who are junior doctors just graduated from medical school. Many final-year medical students in England were fast-tracked into employment to help fight the virus.

doctor health


The Royal College of Nursing said student and recently returned nurses had "stepped up to make an invaluable contribution" across the country.

But despite the number of nurses and health visitors rising by 1,570 during April, the RCN said the NHS had entered the crisis with 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone.

"This shows exactly why a long-term plan to ensure there’s enough nursing staff to meet our needs is so desperately needed.

"Recently, almost a third of our members told us in a survey they were considering leaving nursing.

"If the Government values the efforts of those students and others who stepped up to tackle Covid-19, it must take steps to retain the nursing staff we have, as well as to increase entry into the profession including an early and meaningful pay rise and tuition fee support for nursing students."

Susan Masters, RCN director of nursing

Health think tank the Nuffield Trust said many of the additional staff recruited through the student route would have been expected to join the NHS in the autumn anyway.

The group has warned the NHS faces problems with retention, overseas recruitment, and sickness absences due to stress or burnout in the wake of the crisis.

"What is crucial now is that we persuade these new staff to stay by giving them good prospects and a positive environment.

"We can't let a wave of people coming in turn into a wave of people leaving in a few years' time."

Dr Billy Palmer, Nuffield Trust

treliske casualty 2

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said there were also 442 former healthcare professionals who "bravely volunteered to return to the frontline" captured in the statistics.

Not all returners will have been included in the figures as they may have been employed on temporary or honorary contracts, she added.

"This pandemic has shown how proud the entire country is of all our brave health and care workers, and what an essential role they play in society.

"We made the commitment of 50,000 more nurses by end of this Parliament, and I’m determined we will meet it."

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock

You can find all the source data here.

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