Tuesday, February 2, 1999 Published at 19:36 GMT
Thousands call nurse recruitment line
Thousands of people are considering a nursing career
More than 3,000 people have called a nurses recruitment hotline following the launch of a £5 million advertising campaign and the new pay awards, according to the Department of Health.
Since the first TV and radio advertisements were aired on Monday night, 3,420 calls have been logged.
Full page advertisements have also appeared in national and regional newspapers, and magazines on Tuesday morning at the start of the two-month campaign.
The recruitment campaign was timed to coincide with the announcement by the government of inflation-busting pay rises for nurses.
Newly qualified nurses received 12% in the public sector pay round, while more experienced colleagues received at least 4.7%
Between 10.30am and 11.30am on Tuesday the hotline received 700 inquiries about nursing.
The campaign, devised by advertising firm Saatchi, features pictures of a young girl in a comatose state and bears the slogan "Nurses make a difference".
Thousands of vacancies
Health Secretary Frank Dobson is hoping the recruitment drive will help plug the thousands of nursing vacancies throughout England and Wales and will entice former staff back into the NHS.
Public service union UNISON's Head of Health Malcolm Wing said: "The response to the recruitment campaign is extremely encouraging.
"It is good news for the NHS and is good news for patients."
"For the future of the Health Service it is crucial that these potential recruits are rewarded with a career with real prospects and proper pay."
The RCN estimates that there are 13,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS.