Covid-19: Thousands of nurses to return to work

Thousands of former nurses have answered the NHS’s call to action and are returning to work, figures show.

Data from the nursing regulator shows that 7,510 nurses and midwives who have left the profession in the last three years have decided to re-register to help in the battle against coronavirus.

Meanwhile thousands of former doctors and pharmacists could also make themselves available to help after their regulators re-registered them.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) sent out a rallying call to 50,000 nurses who had come off the register in the last three years, either for retirement or changing roles.

Just seven days after receiving the letter, thousands said they were able to help as the NHS faces one of the biggest challenges in its history.

They joined the NMC’s Covid-19 temporary register which enables them to practise during the emergency.

Their details are being shared with health and care organisations across all four countries of the UK.

“We’re living in the most extraordinary of times. To see thousands of former nursing and midwifery professionals make the decision so quickly to sign up to our temporary emergency register and join the Covid-19 response is simply incredible,” said Andrea Sutcliffe, the NMC’s chief executive and registrar.

“To former nurses and midwives who left their professions within the last three years who haven’t already applied to join the NMC Covid-19 temporary register but would like to, it’s not too late. We need you.

“We know it’s a huge ask, but by offering to return to work in this hour of need, I know what a massive difference your expertise and experience will bring for everyone working in and receiving care in the NHS, in communities, in nursing homes and across the country during the challenging weeks and months ahead.

“To our returners – and to the 700,000 nurses, midwives and nursing associates who are already playing an essential and much-valued part in this pandemic – you are the heartbeat of our health and care system. Thank you.”

Meanwhile, the regulators of doctors and pharmacists have automatically re-registered thousands of professionals so they can help if they choose during the crisis.

The General Medical Council – which operates the register of doctors working in Britain – last week wrote to 15,000 medics who have left the profession in the last three years.

They were informed they would automatically be temporarily re-registered unless they opted out.

The GMC said that some doctors opted out and the remaining 11,856 have now been granted temporary registration.

Meanwhile the General Pharmaceutical Council has given temporary registration to 3,332 pharmacists and 2,909 pharmacy technicians who had left the register in the last three years.

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