A new recruitment strategy is ready to be adopted by the NHS in England, which has revealed it will turn to Mumsnet to help recruit nurses as part of a package of measures to fill vacancies in the health service.
NHS bosses see the online parenting chatroom and website as a crucial partner to entice nurses who have left the profession, to rejoin it.
This is one of a number of steps unveiled in the interim People Plan, a report sets the ambition of recruiting an extra 40,000 nurses over the next five years.
The report sets to achieve this through a combination of four recruitment approaches: International recruitment by appointing lead agencies to co-ordinate the process; Ensuring more nurses enter training; Improving retention rates by placing a greater emphasis on career developing; Encouraging nurses back into the NHS with 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. It offers catch-up training and a route back for nurses and support staff who have let their professional registrations lapse.
More than nurses
While the plan focuses heavily on nurses, it also acknowledges more doctors and support staff will also be needed. This comes in the context of increasing concern about the number of vacancies in the health service.
Dido Harding, chair of NHS Improvement, which is leading the work on the People Plan, told the BBC 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 said,
We must make the NHS an employer to be proud of.