• Almost 1,300 former NHS staff have returned to work in South East region during covid-19 crisis
  • By contrast, East of England has around 200 returning members of staff

The region with the highest number of returning NHS staff has more than six times as many as the region with the lowest number, HSJ can reveal. 

Of the approximately 4,900 doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff who have returned to the NHS as of this week, just under 1,300 have done so in the South East.

HSJ understands this was followed by around 850 in London, 800 in the Midlands, nearly 700 in the North West, 550 in the North East and Yorkshire, and almost 500 in the South West.

The East of England has the lowest number of staff returning, with just over 200.

In terms of demand, London and the Midlands have the most coronavrius cases, followed by the North West and North East. The South East and East of England have noticeably fewer, while the South West has seen relatively few cases. 

 Region Number of returning staff so far
 South East  c. 1,300
 London  c. 850
 Midlands  c. 800
 North West  c. 700
 North East and Yorkshire  c. 550
 South West  c. 500
 East of England  c. 200

Nearly 2,000 nurses, 1,600 doctors, and more than 1,200 allied health professionals had decided to return to the NHS to help with the coronavirus pandemic so far. There were also 20 pharmacists, two dentists and 30 scientists, HSJ was told.

A further 10,300 former NHS workers have completed their pre-employment checks and will soon be allocated to employers.

These numbers only account for staff who have rejoined through the national programme. Others will have returned to work directly through trusts and the bank system.

The new figures come as some clinicians have raised concerns over delays in the national process to return to work.

One former senior NHS consultant told HSJ: “The [General Medical Council] process was very easy and very quick… I was then sent a form to complete by NHS England a week later to define my skill set and my availability. I never heard back from them.”

A community trust nurse said: “I’ve had no reply after about a week. Very frustrating seeing all the struggles and I want to help but they obviously don’t need us.”

Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said: “We have been hugely inspired by the sheer number of returning NHS staff, and by their commitment and willingness to help provide great care.”