Public sector jobs drive launched with new NHS, teaching and prison roles

A recruitment flash is being launched to encourage people to work on the front lines in the NHS, academia and prisons.

Boris Johnson has announced that he wants to see a public sector recruitment guarantee in 2021 as the UK battles to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

There will also be a special television commercial for police officers due to begin on Tuesday 5th January in England and Wales.

Government figures suggest the number of doctors and nurses has increased over the past year, but the prime minister said he wanted to go further in the next 12 months.

However, unions say they need to end the public sector wage freeze and allow workers to get an “early and significant” wage increase.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Johnson will urge those looking for a job or career change to reflect on the role of the public sector on the front lines in 2021.

More than a million jobs are believed to have been lost due to restrictions put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Johnson said, “We have the very best of officials and I feel a tremendous sense of admiration when I think of the care, steadfastness and determination with which our doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and prison workers have faced the challenges of the pandemic.

“There is light at the end of the Covid tunnel – the vaccine is increasingly giving hope that normal will be back to normal by Easter, and I am determined that we can better recover from the pandemic and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

“My commitment to recruiting more teachers, nurses, police officers and other frontline workers has been unwavering.

“We have made good progress this year, but 2021 will be a year of growth and renewal – and the best frontline workers will be a vital part of it.”

How many nurses, doctors, teachers, and prison officers are there?

According to the Department of Health and Welfare, the number of nurses in the NHS in England rose by 13,313 last year to a record 299,184.

Ministers have pledged to hire 50,000 more nurses by 2024.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing said nurse recruitment numbers for 2020 had been “inflated” by employees returning to work during the pandemic.

The spokesman warned: “The number of vacant nurse jobs is stubbornly high at the start of 2021.

“The government must do whatever it takes to convince these professionals to stay and keep others involved, with an early and significant increase in NHS salaries and the real support that nursing students need.”

The number of doctors rose by a further 6,030 according to health authorities. The latest September figures show that there are almost 122,500 registered in the country.

The number of teachers has also increased. In 2020, 41,000 new apprentices were hired, while the government plans to hire 20,000 more police officers before the next election, 6,000 of whom have already been hired.

The ranks of the Border Force were increased as part of Brexit preparations – around 900 additional operational employees were hired in the 2019/20 financial year, and a further 1,100 employees will be hired by July 2021, said a spokesman for number 10.

Meanwhile, 1,760 prison officers across England and Wales and another 443 probation officers were hired in 2020.

The Justice Department plans to hire an additional 3,200 prison officers and 1,500 probation officers in fiscal year 2021/22, a spokesman added.

Unison Assistant Secretary-General Christina McAnea said, “If the government is really serious about the hiring process, it must end the public sector wage freeze announced a few weeks ago.”

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