An appeal to boost Northern Ireland’s health and social care workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic has been shortlisted for a UK-wide award.

The Department of Health worked in partnership with HealthSectorTalent on the campaign which has now been shortlisted in the Excellence in Public Service HR category of the Personnel Today awards.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “We launched the HSC Workforce Appeal at the end of March and were overwhelmed by the phenomenal response. Our message at that time was simple and urgent – we said we needed people from across all staff groups to come forward and they did. We received over 20,000 expressions of interest and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came forward. Being shortlisted for this award is testament to each and every one of you.”

The HSC Workforce Appeal received 3,323 clinical applications, including 123 doctors and 100 nurses who had left or retired from service making themselves available for employment within the health and social care sector. Of the over 3,000 clinical applications 509 have been appointed and 121 have been given offers. A total of 863 individuals have now been appointed while another 145 offers have been made and a further 658 are ready to be deployed if required.

Stephen McLarnon CEO and Head of Global Markets at HealthSectorTalent said: “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award alongside the Department of Health. A campaign of this size would ordinarily take months to develop but the HSC Workforce appeal was planned and brought online within days so I would like to thank all those who enabled this to happen.

“The appeal itself was hugely effective and resulted in 11,642 formal applications – this is a conversion rate of 58% – well over double what could normally be expected in a recruitment campaign. I would also like to echo the Health Minister’s sentiments and thank all the staff who stepped forward when our health service needed them most.”

Concluding Minister Swann said: “The online applications have now been paused but the campaign has been designed so that further expressions of interest can be sought quickly if there are further areas of high demand.”

The Department has also been shortlisted in the Innovation in Recruitment category of the Personnel Today awards