8 March 2021

The battle to beat coronavirus in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin is being boosted with nearly 1,000 new staff members recruited to join the area’s vaccination service.

Vaccinators, Healthcare Assistants, Administrators and Car Park Marshalls are all being brought in to join the team on the COVID-19 frontline.

They arrive at a key time for the vaccination service, which is gearing up for its busiest period yet. The programme continues to move through the age cohorts, as well as preparing for the return of patients who received their first doses back in December and are now set to come in for their second dose.

The recruitment drive has been led by The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH) supported by the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU), in its capacity as lead employer for the vaccination service. It has also been supported by HR colleagues from other organisations – including The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Shropshire Community Health, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council.

Sarah Sheppard, Director of People for both RJAH and MLCSU, said: “It has been a phenomenal team effort to recruit so many people in such a short space of time.

“We launched our ‘Be A Part of History’ campaign at Christmas and, since then, have processed more than 1,700 applications and carried out more than 1,100 job interviews. We’ve made offers to more than 800 people – around 470 of those have already started, with the rest joining in the coming days and weeks. In addition 125 staff who have recently left the NHS have rejoined the vaccination programme and we have also received 51 staff who applied via the national recruitment programme.

“I’m so grateful to all colleagues across the system who have come together to make this happen. Recruiting so many people, so quickly, really is a stunning achievement and this has been a team effort from so many different people from across the Shropshire and Telford system. It’s been so inspiring to witness the ‘Can Do’ attitude from everyone involved.

“These individuals will be working right across the region in the vaccination centres in Telford, Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Oswestry. We are delighted to welcome them to our team and thank them for coming forward.”

Up to now, the majority of staff working in the vaccination service have been redeployed from the existing workforces within the local health and care system and it is important to recognise that the vaccination programme would never have been able to deliver without the hard work of our NHS staff, volunteers, the Fire Service, and Armed Forces.

The arrival of new recruits means that vaccination centres will benefit from more continuity of personnel, while some of the redeployed staff will be able to return to their substantive posts so that the NHS can start to restore services which have had to be paused due to the Pandemic.

Victoria Rankin, Executive Lead for People in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, said: “We’re so grateful to all staff who have offered to work extra shifts or who were redeployed from other services, in order that we could get the vaccination service up and running quickly.

“We also know that it is important that we maintain our other services and meet all the health needs of our population. For that reason, we always knew we would need to recruit new people to come and help us.

“The enthusiasm to get involved and be a part of history has been clear to see, and it gives me great confidence that we can now see the light looming ever larger in this long pandemic tunnel.”