NHS celebrates 70th birthday with 70-day recruitment campaign

The NHS is attempting to attract and retain nursing talent with a celebratory campaign that recognises the contribution of its staff over the past 70 years.

Professor Jane Cummings: The chief nursing officer launched the NHS' 70th anniversary campaign
Professor Jane Cummings: The chief nursing officer launched the NHS' 70th anniversary campaign

NHS England is using an array of channels, including social media, to promote the 70th anniversary of the health service and recognise the contributions made by its nurses and midwives since it was founded by Clement Attlee's Labour Party in 1948.

It is also coinciding the recruitment aspect of the campaign with a 'Pyjama Paralysis' comms drive designed to get patients out of their pyjamas and into their clothes to free up valuable hospital beds.

The NHS took to social media on Sunday (11 March), tweeting that "England's top nurse @JaneMCummings" was launching the campaign, with a link to a news story detailing activity. The hashtags #NHS70 and #EndParalysis are being used in all comms.

Chief nursing officer Professor Jane Cummings outlined a series of measures in her announcement. The campaign will use a group of 165 specially appointed nursing and midwifery ambassadors to promote nursing as a career choice, at locations such as schools.

Meanwhile, 'Pyjama Paralysis' will run from 17 April to 26 June. It is built on the psychological insight that people who remain in their pyjamas at hospital are less likely to recover as quickly as people who are dressed.

Rather than focus on the negative impact this has on hospital bed availability and resources, comms will highlight the time benefits of getting up and out of hospital. The core message is to give "patients back one million days of their precious time that would otherwise be wasted in bed in a hospital or care home".

Another element of 'NHS 70' is to protect the term 'nurse' in law, so that only those registered are permitted to use the title.

Cummings, speaking at the Chief Nursing Officer summit, said: "A career in modern nursing and midwifery has never been more rewarding, offering a huge range of opportunities for talented people. But what remains the same in 2018 as in 1948, when the NHS was founded, is the passion to provide expert care for those in need.

"We want to highlight through this new campaign that nursing and midwifery provides the opportunity not only for an outstanding career, but the chance to have a profound and direct impact on the lives of thousands and thousands of people in a way that simply can’t be matched."

The NHS was founded in 1948 by the Labour Party prime minister Attlee and health minister Aneurin Bevan, who later resigned in protest at plans to charge for dentures and glasses.

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