A significant decline in the number of people applying to start a nursing degree has been recorded over the last year.
Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service shows that in 2017, an 18 percent drop in applications for nursing courses was seen, as well as a 0.9 percent fall in the number of UK students accepted on to nursing courses and a 2.6 percent decline in England.
“A new report has indicated that the number of students applying to study nursing is falling, potentially putting future staff numbers at risk.“
The number of mature students being accepted for nursing courses has also decreased, with 13 percent fewer nursing students between the ages of 21 and 25 and a six percent decline in those aged 26 or above.
This is despite a recent government pledge that the introduction of a new student bursary would lead to 10,000 more nurses being recruited, and a 25 percent increase in training places this year.
Responding to the findings, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) called on the government to invest more in nurse education, and to take further steps to tackle the problem of student debt.
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."
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