The NHS will work with parenting website Mumsnet to try and tempt former nurses back to work for the health service.
An online ‘returning nurses’ campaign has been launched on the message board as part of the NHS’s People Plan which addresses how it will plug staff shortages.
There are almost 40,000 vacant nurse jobs in the UK and health bosses are now targeting already-qualified women on Mumsnet.
The People Plan was revealed with an admission the NHS needs to ‘significantly increase’ the number of staff it hires from abroad.
And Health Secretary Matt Hancock went a step further, suggesting he would scrap all immigration rules for doctors and nurses if made Prime Minister.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary and candidate for next Prime Minister, today said the UK should offer freedom of movement for people around the world who can get jobs at the NHS
A recruitment campaign is already under way on Mumsnet and encourages users to give their details to sign up to be sent information about how they could return to work for the NHS
An advert has already appeared on the Mumsnet homepage encouraging users to sign up for the NHS to contact them about back-to-work opportunities.
Another major component of the NHS’s People Plan was a pledge to hire more people from abroad – something reiterated by Mr Hancock.
As long as someone can speak English, has the right qualification and has an NHS job lined up they should be allowed to move to the UK, Mr Hancock said this morning, according to The Guardian.
Around 144,000 out of the 1.2million people working in the NHS are from outside of the UK, with most of them coming from the European Union.
Some 5.6 per cent of NHS staff in England are from the EU, 4.3 per cent are from Asia, 1.9 per cent from Africa and 0.9 per cent from elsewhere in the world, according to a House of Commons research briefing in October.
Over the next year, the health service will set up connections with overseas recruitment agencies and find ways to streamline relocating foreign workers, it said.
‘Our NHS could not provide its world-class service to patients without the hardworking doctors and nurses from other nations,’ Mr Hancock said.
‘That’s why I believe, after Brexit, we need to see the free movement of medics – doctors and nurses – from all around the world.’
HOW SHORT ON STAFF IS THE NHS?
The NHS is the fifth biggest employer in the world, with 1.5million staff, behind only the US Department of Defense, China’s People’s Liberation Army, Walmart and McDonald’s.
Qualified clinical staff make up around half of the NHS staff. Around 1.1million people are full-time equivalent staff working in hospitals, ambulances and mental health units. Around 130,000 work in GP surgeries.
One in 12 jobs are vacant across the UK’s hospitals.
Nursing and midwifery is the worst hit by staff shortages, with a shortage of around 40,000 in the sector.
There are around 20,000 admin and clerical jobs which also need to be filled.
Between July and September last year there were nearly 94,000 full-time jobs advertised by the NHS.
There is no single robust figure for the shortage of staff but these figures suggest it is around eight per cent.
Shortages are not evenly spread across the country – they are worst in Thames Valley (12 per cent) and lowest in the North East of England (four per cent).
Source: The Nuffield Trust
He added: ‘Wherever you’re from, if you’re qualified, speak English and have a job offer, I want you to have an unrestricted right to work for our NHS and live in our country.
‘We have the best health service in the world – and if I become prime minister, I will make sure it has access to the very best talent in the world.’
Mr Hancock, the MP for West Suffolk, is one of more than a dozen Conservative politicians contending to take over from Theresa May when she resigns this week.
The NHS pledged in its staff plan to give regional and local health bodies more power to hire their own workers from overseas.
A shortage of doctors and nurses has been at the forefront of the health service’s crippling problems in recent years.
There are around 40,000 empty nursing and midwifery jobs across the UK.
And almost 94,000 full-time jobs were advertised between July and September last year, according to the Nuffield Trust think-tank.
Medical staff moving to work in the UK were last week added to a fast-track migration list to help bolster the NHS’s workforce.
The Government’s Migration Advisory Committee added doctors and nurses to the shortage occupation list meaning they will not be required to meet a certain salary or pay hefty visa fees in order to move to the UK.
The British Medical Association’s chairman, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: ‘It’s very clear that overseas doctors have always made a valuable contribution to the success of our health service; their contribution is needed now more than ever.’
As well as encouraging medics from overseas to move here, the NHS announced its commitment to training more British staff.
It said it would offer universities more than 5,700 extra nursing placements this year and hire 7,500 more nursing associates.
Nursing associates are ranked between a healthcare assistant and a nurse, and can progress to a fully registered nurse through training at work.
The People Plan also said the NHS would launch a campaign with Mumsnet to try and convince nurses to return to work.
In response to today’s announcement Patricia Marquis, the England director for the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘This document begins to tackle the real issues but many will reserve final judgement until funding levels and practical details are revealed.
‘The NHS – and the people who use it – deserve a detailed solution to the current crisis, including a new legal framework on accountability for the workforce.
‘When there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England, we need to see urgency from Ministers.
‘To attract the very best professionals into nursing and the NHS, it must be a world class employer that pays fair salaries, pensions and demonstrates the flexibility employees increasingly need and expect.’