New poll reveals one-in-three would now consider working for the NHS since Covid-19 outbreak

18th May 2020

A new poll by YouGov and Sheffield Hallam University has revealed that around one-in-three adults would now consider working in an NHS healthcare role due to the NHS’ response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Over a third (36 per cent) of the 2,507 respondents indicated they would be willing to work for the NHS as they have been inspired by NHS workers going above and beyond in the face of the crisis – including the thousands of undergraduate healthcare students who have joined the frontline, with some 1,500 from Sheffield Hallam; retirees returning to their former NHS roles; and the army of NHS volunteers who have stepped forward to help.

The data reveals that the younger generation has been encouraged to take steps into an NHS career, with 43 per cent of 16 to 24-year olds stating that they have been inspired by the actions of the current workforce.

The YouGov survey has been commissioned by Sheffield Hallam University as part of its efforts to help the NHS capitalise on the increasing interest in professional healthcare careers and address the ongoing workforce shortages. The University is one of the largest providers of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions education in the UK.

Almost a quarter of adults (24%) have said the celebration and recognition that the NHS has received from the public during the outbreak means that they would now be willing to work for the NHS. This appreciation includes the weekly national Clap for our Carers event; Captain Tom Moore’s £33m NHS fundraising efforts; and the widespread community-based NHS activities and tributes taking place every day across the UK.

The findings coincide with Sheffield Hallam experiencing a 16 per cent increase in the number of nursing and midwifery course applications in 2020 compared to the same period last year. Some of the healthcare courses that have seen an applicant uplift include:

  • BSc Learning Disability Nursing & Social Work – 37 per cent increase
  • BSc Midwifery – 24 per cent increase
  • BSc Mental Health Nursing – 13 per cent increase
  • BSc Child Nursing – 17 per cent increase
  • BSc Radiotherapy & Oncology – 24 per cent increase

Dr Christopher Low, Associate Dean for the College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Science at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“This data confirms what many of us have observed throughout the crisis - that the groundswell of support and recognition for those on the NHS frontline is becoming a clarion call to the huge number of highly motivated young people who value a career that gives them the opportunity to make a real contribution to society.

“The Government has started to recognise this by signalling their intention to fund an extra 5,000 places on university healthcare courses.

“We welcome this commitment, but want to work with the Government to be even more ambitious. This is a moment to transform the NHS; to bring together health and social care to create a truly national, high-quality regulated and integrated care system with responsibility for every aspect of the nation’s health; and to outline a long term workforce plan to achieve this transformational goal.”

With the UK and global economy braced for a recession as a result of Covid-19, the poll also reveals that 28 per cent of adults would now be willing to work for the NHS due to the job security and rewards available.

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