NHS England has launched a new platform to recruit ‘reserve’ staff who will be trained to support GP practices and health clinics.
The programme is open to former healthcare professionals or those outside the NHS, and will see reservists trained for a paid support role.
Local services will be able to deploy staff from the pool depending on their local pressures and staffing needs, with reserves offering administrative or management support.
It comes after the initial pilot, which took place across five sites, saw more than 17,000 people recruited last year.
The programme is intended to help services tackle the Covid backlog.
However, the Government’s recent elective care recovery plan was criticised for lacking a workforce plan.
The reservist programme launch was announced by NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard at the Nuffield Trust Summit Series today (1 March).
She said: ‘Along with the whole country, NHS staff have had a challenging few years – they have worked incredibly hard to care for over 600,000 people in hospital with Covid, kept routine services going for people who needed them and helped the entire country get back to normal with the successful rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.’
She added that reservists will further support NHS staff.
A recent survey indicated that as many as 76% of ICS leaders believe that national workforce shortages are preventing systems from developing further.
Meanwhile, a recent poll indicated that the general public believes that standards of care in the NHS are declining, with workload and staffing levels named the most pressing issues.