The NHS in Wales has launched a jobs service which brings health service vacancies together on a single web site.

The site allows users to search for jobs by category, organisation, salary, hours, keywords and geographical area in Wales. It is open to existing NHS staff who want to change jobs and to the public.

Launching the new service, health minister, Jane Hutt, said, “Recruitment and retention in NHS Wales is a top priority for the Welsh Assembly Government and I hope that the site proves to be another important tool in recruiting more staff to NHS Wales.”

The site is part of the implementation of a recruitment and retention strategy which aims to reduce vacancies in the NHS in Wales. 508 vacancies were on display as this report was written with jobs on offer in most of the categories listed.

There is still no umbrella site for NHS in England despite an effort launched in August 2000 to create an online service advertising vacancies for all grades of staff from professor to porter. The tendering process narrowed 52 bids for the site down to a shortlist, but collapsed following a legal challenge from one of the disappointed bidders who argued that the tender should have gone into the OJEC.

The stakes are high: the NHS spends millions of pounds on recruitment advertising in newspapers, professional journals and their associated websites. The estimate published in the original announcement of the site for England said advertising cost £30 million a year, but this was widely seen as an underestimate. Advertising has increased in recent years as the NHS has recruited the extra staff needed to fulfil the NHS Plan.