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Nursing degree applications slump after NHS bursaries abolished

Nursing degree applications slump after NHS bursaries abolished

Applications by students in England to nursing and midwifery courses at British universities have fallen by 23% after the government abolished NHS bursaries, figures show.

Nursing leaders said the sudden slump revealed by the latest university application data was inevitable given that student nurses now faced paying annual tuition fees of more than £9,000. "These figures confirm our worst fears.

The nursing workforce is in crisis and if fewer nurses graduate in 2020 it will exacerbate what is already an unsustainable situation," said Janet Davies, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing. "The outlook is bleak: fewer EU nurses are coming to work in the UK following the Brexit vote, and by 2020 nearly half the workforce will be eligible for retirement.

With 24,000 nursing vacancies in the UK, the government needs to take immediate action to encourage more applicants by reinstating student funding and investing in student education."

Universities dismissed talk of a crisis, arguing that undergraduate numbers across other courses fell in 2012 when tuition fees rose to £9,000 a year but later recovered. Prof Steve West, the chair of Universities UK's health education policy network, said most universities had anticipated "a dip" in applications but called for the government to promote nursing degrees.

The drop in nursing applications was part of an overall fall in applications to start undergraduates courses in Britain this year, according to figures from Ucas, the university admissions clearing house.

The number of domestic applicants dropped by 5%, the biggest fall in recent years, and there was a 7% fall in applications from the EU, as reported by the Guardian last week.

Source: The Guradian

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