AIREDALE Hospital has seen a surge in the number of people wanting to work there since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

With public support for the NHS at unprecedented levels, the Steeton hospital has been flooded with job applications.

In March and April alone, more than 2,000 people sought work with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.

As a result, over 300 job offers have been made – a 52 per cent rise on the same period last year.

To cope with the increased demand, the trust’s human resources team has introduced a fast-track recruitment process, which enables new staff to start within seven days.

The trust says the boost in recruitment means it has been able to take on more staff across a wide range of registered health professional roles alongside other key worker posts including admin, catering, domestics, porters and drivers.

Lorna Smithson, head of the human resources workforce resource service at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the local community and it’s evident from the number of applications we’re receiving that people want to help the NHS in any way they can.

“We would like to thank our community for stepping forward during this pandemic to offer the support, which has really reinforced that we are all in this together.”

The trust has also been taking part in a number of initiatives to increase the workforce.

It has partnered with universities in Bradford, Huddersfield, Cumbria, Leeds and Liverpool – plus the Open University and Uclan in Lancashire – to employ students who have volunteered to help during their six-month final placement. The 50 students will support staff and care for patients in special nationally-designed roles for future nurses and midwives.

As part of a national campaign encouraging retired health professionals to consider returning to the NHS, Airedale has received more than 30 offers across areas including medical, nursing, therapies and science. And so far, 22 people have joined the trust through the venture.

The trust has also welcomed a cohort of 15 nurses from India – joining 19 who arrived in January and February – and a number of new interim foundation doctors, who have graduated from medical school and chosen to join the trust ahead of their scheduled August start date to help during the pandemic.

And a Lean on Me programme, designed to provide additional support from different areas of the trust to wards during peak periods, has been reinstated.

It aims to relieve pressure on healthcare professionals and enable them to concentrate on their clinical duties.

The trust has widened the scope of the programme during the Covid-19 pandemic to include the redeployment of current staff and volunteers – and to include members of the public who have come forward to offer help on a voluntary basis.

Anyone interested in working for the trust can view the latest vacancies at