Call for former health care workers to join NHS Norfolk and Waveney Reservist programme this winter

7th November 2022

Local health and social care organisations across Norfolk and Waveney are once again appealing for willing reservists to come and support their local community as services face increasing pressure over the winter period. 

The national Reservists initiative, which was launched successfully in Norfolk and Waveney since the summer of 2020, is calling for former health workers to return to the NHS as the health service prepares for winter.   

NHS Reservists are people who can sign up and be trained to work for the NHS flexibly at times of high demand for clinical services. They can be called upon to work in hospitals or other health services such as community, mental health and primary care as and when they are required.   

Health and social care staff are preparing for winter with the NHS expanding bed numbers, recruiting extra staff to answer 999 and 111 calls, and rolling out the flu and vaccination programme.  

The team is  particularly keen to hear from staff with clinical backgrounds who still have their registrations (or have held these previously) so that we can maximise support for services this year. Typically, a Reservist will commit to 20 days a year working around their home and personal commitments, at a location close to their home.

The team also welcomes enquiries from people with no prior health and care experience, as they have a number of support roles which are essential to the smooth running of patient care.

Mark Rodgerson, Programme Manager for Norfolk & Waveney Health & Social Care Partnership said: “Our Reservists are amazing; they have different skillsets and competencies but what they have in common is an overwhelming desire to contribute to the wellbeing and comfort of our local community. 

“We will be deploying our team to areas of greatest need over the coming months. This will include roles for clinical professionals such as urgent and emergency care, ward support, discharge, vaccinations, and for people without clinical experience, such as administration, ward runners, and patient stewards.”

The programme is also an ideal opportunity for people considering joining the NHS to get a taster of what it’s like before fully committing to a career in the health service. Full training will be provided with shadowing of existing workers or full-time staff to help support people in their roles.

Frank Shannon came out of retirement in November 2020 to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Frank qualified as a state registered nurse in 1978 and

was a medical assistant with the Royal Naval Reserve before joining the RAF on a regular commission in 1981. After a deployment in Iraq, he left the NHS and was offered full time service again with the RAF as a nursing officer until his retirement in 2016. Frank then re-joined the NMC register in May 2022.

Frank said: “The support has been excellent and well organised. We have been provided with all the training required through a combination of online modules and practical life support training in person, plus individual training on the system used to record vaccinations. The unit’s permanent staff have given their full support and have ensured we are fully integrated into the team.”

“All health care personnel have an inner drive and motivation to help people. I just wanted to do my bit, help out in any way, not let my clinical skills go to waste, and be part of a team again.”

Emma Wakelin, Associate Director for Workforce at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: 

“Winter is always a challenging time for people; however, this year feels like it will be even harder with cost of living and national and world events impacting on individuals. The health and wellbeing of our population is a real concern for us as staff and as friends and family members. We are already seeing significant demand on all of our services and therefore additional support from our Reservist team is very much needed.

“Our Reservists have a range of backgrounds and experiences in and out of health and social care. We are happy to have a conversation with anyone who would like to join our team.”

To find out more information or register to join the NHS Reservists today, please visit: 

For Social care opportunities, please visit: