There will be a 15% rise in the number of pre-registration nurses training places in Northern Ireland, health minister Simon Hamilton announced.
An additional 100 places will be available from this Autumn, bringing the full number to 745. The extra places will be spread across Queens’ University Belfast, Ulster University and the Open University. Mr Hamilton stated that the decision to add more nurse training places was due to continuing demand for nurses in the Northern Irish health service. He said that nurses are ‘central to the delivery of safe, effective and compassionate care.’
‘I am deeply impressed by the quality of care provided by our nurses, and of the pre-registration training provided by our partner universities,’ said Mr Hamilton. ‘The close collaborative approach to training adopted by the health and social care department and the universities consistently produces nurses which, I believe, are among the best in the world.’
He also announced the creation of a task force led by Northern Ireland’s chief nursing officer, Charlotte McArdle. The group will make recommendations about the future delivery of nursing and midwifery in Northern Ireland over the next 10 to 15 years.
‘We welcome the Minister’s announcement that he is commissioning a task group for nursing and midwifery under the direction of the CNO,’ said RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth. ‘The nursing profession is facing unprecedented pressure and the Royal College of Nursing believes that an independently chaired review group is urgently required. This provides an opportunity to ensure an approach that promotes health and wellbeing, identifies and embraces innovative practice and work already undertaken in Northern Ireland and is informed by evidence of best practice here, across the UK and further afield.’