Student nursing applications continue to dip

UCAS figures show student nursing applications in England are much lower than three years ago, with the Royal College of Nursing stressing that funding reforms are failing to deliver.

The number of student nursing applicants in England has fallen 29 per cent since 2016, the year in which the nursing bursary was removed, with the RCN saying that the small increase of four per cent on last year’s figures has failed to avert the crisis in student nursing recruitment, and should not divert away from the worrying decline in applicants.

The numbers support the growing argument that the decision to remove student nurse funding has failed in its aim to attract more people to the profession. The RCN maintains that the government needs to invest at least £1 billion into nursing higher education and emphasise its support for the future of the nursing workforce.

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN chief executive, said: “We need to see a much bigger increase if we are to have the number of nurses we need to sustain health and care services and give patients the care they deserve. We need to see a sustained investment to grow the supply of our future nurses and the urgent delivery of a long-term plan for the staff of the NHS. We cannot do this without a massive increase in the amount of government funding to incentivise people to study to become nurses and to support them when they are in full-time clinical placements.”

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