A CALL for an 'army' of new staff has gone out from hospital trusts in Oxfordshire as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Marie Crofts, chief nurse of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the county’s community hospitals, has launched an urgent recruitment drive appealing for people to 'join the fight' and help frontline staff tackle a 'growing mountain' of work.

Explaining the campaign to 'attract an army' of full time and flexible staff, she said: “Coronavirus is having a big impact on our staffing levels as more and more people are impacted by the virus.

See our live blog for the latest coronavirus updates in Oxfordshire

"Some of our clinical support staff have needed to self-isolate, look after their families, or have on-going conditions that put them at higher risk."

The chief nurse continued: “We want them to stay safe, but we have a growing mountain of work to do in caring for the communities we serve. As a result, we have a range of full time, temporary flexible and bank worker roles with immediate starts available in clinical and non-clinical roles."

Banbury Cake:

Oxford Health chief nurse Marie Crofts

Ms Crofts said the roles could be ideal for those who had lost their jobs and are 'facing an uncertain future' due to coronavirus.

She added: "Join our fight, join our teams and help us to keep caring.”

As well as community hospitals in Oxford, Witney, Abingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Wallingford and Henley, Oxford Health also runs out of hours services and specialist teams, such as stroke wards, plus minor injuries units and mental health services for children, teenagers, adults and older people.

ALSO READ: Woman, 21, 'with no health conditions', dies of coronavirus

Roles needed include healthcare support workers and community support workers, driver receptionists who help clinical teams get to patients quickly, as well as pharmacy store assistants. There are also admin and cleaning jobs, plus maintenance roles.

Full training and equipment is provided. With weekly or monthly pay available for flexible workers. DBS checks may be required.

The chief nurse said: “Having the support of our community will make such a difference to our hard-pressed teams. If you’re not sure what you can do for us, please visit our website or have a conversation with our team on Staffing Solutions hotline. We are #oneOHFT.”

Banbury Cake:

Oxford Heart Centre staff

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, meanwhile, which runs the John Radcliffe where Emergency Department and Intensive Care care staff are on the frontline of treating patients with Covid-19, has urged healthcare workers not currently working for the NHS to come to its aid.

In a Facebook post the trust said: “We are calling all nurses and doctors, as well as other key healthcare professionals, to support our NHS in this time of need. You can help tackle the pandemic and provide a ‘rapid response’ to support essential patient care. If you are currently registered with the GMC, NMC or HCPC and have been working in a relevant healthcare setting, you can begin working in the NHS within 24 hours.”

It comes after more than 400,000 people signed up in less than a day to a new volunteer scheme announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday.

These helpers will be delivering food and medicines, driving patients to appointments and phoning the isolated.

ALSO READ: Pharmacies warn against stockpiling medicine over Covid-19

Almost 12,000 retired NHS staff, including thousands of doctors and nurses have also responded nationally to similar calls to the Oxford trust's to return to the profession.

At the other end, thousands of student medics and nurses have also been moved to the frontline.

This includes 24 final year medical students at Oxford University who volunteered to help the JR.

As of Tuesday more than 8,000 people had tested positive for the virus, with 422 deaths.

Apply for Oxford Health roles by calling the Staffing Solutions hotline on 07769 934843 - weekdays 9am to 5pm. Alternatively email careers@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk or visit careers.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk for more details.

Like OUH, Oxford Health is also appealing for any registered nurses and mental health nurses to contact the trust.