NHS turns to Mumsnet to fill nurse vacancies
The NHS in England plans to turn to Mumsnet to push the recruitment of nurses.
NHS bosses believe the online parenting chatroom and website could be a crucial partner to entice ex-nurses to rejoin the profession.
It is one of the steps being taken as part of the interim People Plan, which aims to recruit 40,000 nurses over the next five years.
The plan aims to prioritise international recruitment, ensuring more nurses enter training, placing greater emphasis on career development to increase staff retention, and the promise of flexible working opportunities.
The plan for the link-up with Mumsnet has yet to be finalised, but is understood to involve promoting the opportunities that exist to go back to nursing.
A national return-to-practice scheme was set up in 2014 and is now being expanded, which offers catch-up training and a route back for nurses and support staff who have let their professional registrations lapse.
The plan has also acknowledged that more doctors and support staff are required, as the 40,000 nurses target would only be enough to fill the current number of unfilled nurse posts.
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Dido Harding, chair of NHS Improvement, which is leading the work on the People Plan, said it was clear there were "challenges" with staff.
“I want front-line NHS staff to know we have heard their concerns about the pressures they face and we are determined to address them.
“The NHS needs more staff. But that, on its own, is not enough.
“We need to change the way people work in the NHS and create a modern, caring and exciting workplace.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “We must make the NHS an employer to be proud of.”
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said that the plan was "ducking the big challenges", and said the bursary for nursing students should be restored and legislation was needed to ensure safe staffing levels on wards.
Patricia Marquis, of the Royal College of Nursing, added: “This document begins to tackle the real issues but many will reserve final judgement until funding levels and practical details are revealed.”
A full People Plan is to be published by the end of the year, once the government has announced its spending plans.