DOZENS of new NHS workers joined the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust in April during the first peak of the coronavirus crisis, new figures show.

The Government has praised the contribution made by new and returning healthcare workers during the pandemic – but experts say action is needed to address recruitment concerns long term.

NHS workforce figures show there were 6,876 members of staff employed at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust in April, ​85 more than during March.

The biggest increase in workers was among those in clinical support roles, whose numbers swelled from 1,957 to 2,036.

Across England, the figures show there were 12,839 extra members of NHS staff in April, of whom 3,008 were professionally qualified clinical staff such as doctors and nurses.

Among the recruits in April were 1,151 new Foundation Year 1 doctors, who are junior doctors just graduated from medical school.

But despite the number of nurses and health visitors rising by 1,570 during April, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the NHS had entered the crisis with 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone.

"This shows exactly why a long-term plan to ensure there’s enough nursing staff to meet our needs is so desperately needed," said Susan Masters, RCN director of nursing.

"Recently, almost a third of our members told us in a survey they were considering leaving nursing.