The £3.3m recruitment campaign launched to promote careers in the NHS and to encourage former staff to return has proved to be the service's the most successful recruitment drive ever.
Figures published by the Department of Health show that almost 80,000 people contacted the NHS Careers helpline over an eight-week period in February and March - almost 30,000 more than the 2002 campaign.
The 'Smile' campaign, backed by TV and print advertising, and launched under the slogan 'Join the team, make a difference' covered all careers in the NHS, including nursing and midwifery, the allied health professions, healthcare science, medicine and dentistry.
The TV commercials, which were complemented by press adverts, told the story of a young woman with severe head and facial injuries and the multi-disciplinary NHS team which helped her recover.
Press adverts appeared in all English national newspapers, women's and TV listings magazines, nursing business titles and a variety of minority ethnic publications.
Health minister John Hutton said the figures show that the NHS is an attractive place to work and is becoming an employer of choice.
However, recent research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims that 38 per cent of NHS workers and 30 per cent of local government workers find their work either stressful or very stressful against an average of 25 per cent for all workers.
The latest figures from the Department of Health show an average of 260 attacks a day on NHS staff.