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23% Drop in Student Nursing Applications

Released on - 03/05/2017

23% Drop in Student Nursing Applications

There has been a worrying drop in the number of students applying to start health and social care courses in the next academic year. Data published by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed a 23% drop in applicants from England making at least one choice involving nursing and midwifery compared to last year, amidst an overall 5% decrease in applications across all subjects.

UCAS noted 33,810 applicants to nursing courses in January this year compared to 43,800 the year before, marking a loss of almost 10,000 potential future nursing staff. The outlook for nursing currently looks bleak as fewer EU nurses look to work in the UK following last year’s EU Referendum and almost half of nurses become eligible for retirement by 2020, despite the UK currently having 24,000 nursing vacancies.

In a report from the National Health Executive the spokesperson reported that despite the drop, universities had still received 14,000 more applications to nursing and midwifery courses than the number of places offered last year. 

“This suggests that there are sufficient numbers of people applying for places on healthcare courses to ensure that there will be enough students to meet NHS requirements for the future”.

However, Professor Steve West, chair of Universities UK’s Health Education and Research Policy Network, said that the government must continue to endorse and promote the degree route into health and social care professions despite the withdrawal of funding.

“These courses lead into critically important roles in our future health and care services,” Prof West said. “They also provide an amazing range of professional careers, qualifications that are recognised all over the world and great opportunities for personal fulfilment.”

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