MORE than 100 new doctors and 300 nurses have started work in Somerset in the past year.

This means there has been a 10 per cent increase across Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Royal United Hospitals Bath, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital.

A spokesperson from the Somerset CCG said: “Over the past few years we have seen an increased focus on various recruitment initiatives from our healthcare partners to attract, recruit and retain healthcare colleagues in Somerset, supporting the delivery of high quality healthcare services across the county.

“Despite national challenges in the recruitment of nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and other specialist workers, we have seen an improving picture across the NHS in Somerset.

“Recruitment will continue to be an ongoing area of focus to fill existing and new vacancies, as healthcare services develop and adapt to the changing needs of our local population and we would like to encourage more people to consider careers in the NHS in both direct care and the many support services we provide.

“We will continue to work closely in partnership with all our health and care providers across Somerset, to deliver both routine and urgent care services alongside our Covid-19 response.”

Wells MP James Heappey has welcomed the increase.

“The pandemic has once again highlighted how important our NHS workers are and how hard they work,” sad Mr Heappey.

“It is so important that the Government’s commitment to increase the number of doctors and nurses nationally makes its way down to Somerset.

“These are extremely encouraging statistics and I am delighted to see NHS workers choosing to work in this great county.

“I cannot thank them all enough for all their hard work throughout this trying time.”

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, believes the UK is on its way to delivering 50,000 more nurses after UCAS figures show a 14 per cent rise in students accepting nursing courses.

Mr Hancock said: “It is fantastic to see we have record numbers of staff working in our NHS, and as set out last month in the NHS People Plan, we must strive to make the NHS the best possible place to work for all.

“This will help us retain more of our hardworking staff and ensure the NHS can continue to protect us, as we protected it throughout the peak of this pandemic.

“We have protected the NHS, and we are investing record sums into the NHS, hiring more doctors and nurses so the NHS is always there for you and your family.”