NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens has praised the ‘extraordinary’ response of nurses and healthcare workers to COVID as the so-called ‘Nightingale effect’ sees thousands of new NHS recruits mark their first International Nurses Day.
Sir Simon hailed the tireless work of nurses, healthcare support workers and assistants in caring for around 400,000 seriously ill COVID patients and millions more besides and delivering the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history and one of the fastest in the world.
Volunteers who have supported NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic are among those who have decided to sign up, as the skills, dedication and professionalism of nurses and other NHS staff were put in the spotlight.
There were over 11,000 more nurses, midwives and health visitors working in the NHS in England in January than 12 months earlier, bringing the total to a record 330,000 as well as an additional 5,195 healthcare support workers and assistants.
There are also record numbers of student nurses entering the profession.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said:
New NHS data shows that 330,631 nurses were employed across NHS hospitals and organisations as of January 2021, an increase of 3.5% on a year earlier, while there were also 151,123 healthcare support workers, up 3.6% over the same period.
Meanwhile, applications to studying nursing at university were up 34% across England this year to an all-time high of 48,830.
NHS England chief nursing officer Ruth May said:
Source: NHS England