The number of students starting undergraduate nursing courses has dipped by 2.6% this year which has lead to warnings that the future supply of nurses ‘remains in peril’.
The Government promised in October to create an extra 5,000 nursing places, part of a wider drive to cope with soaring patient numbers, however, an end to bursaries in favour of student loans have been blamed for deterring people from the profession.
Combined with the drop in overseas applicants – which has partially been blamed on uncertainty over Brexit – the true risks to our NHS services are yet to be seen.
The latest data shows there was a 13 per cent decline in acceptances to nursing subjects from applicants aged 21 to 25 and a six per cent decline from those aged 26 or above, but that these decreases were offset by in increased acceptances of young applicants.
It suggests that, per applicant, it was easier to get onto a nursing degree this year than in the past.
The Royal College of Nursing said the figures showed the Government is not filling the promised extra places.
Speaking in the Telegraph, Lara Carmona, Associate Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the RCN, said: “These figures show the future supply of nurses remains in peril – we have not seen the increase we need across the UK, despite government promises.
“In practice, this will mean services already struggling to recruit staff will find it even harder.”
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