This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Nursing degree applications down 30% as RCN warns Long-term Plan in danger

Written by: | Published:

The number of mature students fared even worse The number of mature students fared even worse, falling by 41%

Nursing degree applications in England have fallen by 13,000 since 2016, according to UCAS figures.

The figures show number of people applying to study nursing in England has fallen sharply, despite a modest increase last year, since 2016, the last year students received the bursary. The RCN has warned that the NHS Long Term Plan won’t have a chance to succeed if the decline in student nurse applications isn’t reversed

‘These figures show the scale of the workforce challenge ahead of us, and failure to act now risks patient care for a generation. The Long Term Plan deserves to succeed, but it cannot do so without the nurses to deliver it,’ said RCN Acting Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair. ‘With applicant numbers showing no sign of recovering since the removal of student funding, health care services will ultimately have even fewer nurses to treat us in our hospitals, homes, schools and clinics.’

The figures show that the number of mature nursing student applications from people over 25 in England has seen an even greater decline, falling by 41% since the bursary was removed. According to the RCN, this will mean the specialist areas worst hit by the wider staffing crisis, such as learning disability and mental health nursing, will continue to struggle to recruit the nurses they need.

‘Today’s figures show we all need to work together to address the workforce crisis, not only through investment in nurse education in England but through a workforce strategy that reflects the demands of the population in each country,’ added Dame Donna. ‘This needs to be underpinned by legislation that guarantees the right number of nurses and nursing support staff to provide safe and effective care.’

The RCN’s is calling on the Government to invest at least £1bn per year in nursing higher education to help stop the decline in student nurse numbers and recruit the nursing staff needed to keep patients safe.

The organisation has presented costed proposals to the Government such as a maintenance grant for all nursing students, or a combination of grants and forgivable loans, as well as practical support for tuition fees.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.