Why we shouldn't panic about nursing students... yet
Blogged by King's Fund (25 July 2017): We’ve known for some time that there is a shortage of nurses in England. There’s nothing particularly new in that statement. It’s been said by us at the Fund, the Public Accounts Committee, Health Education England, and the Migration Advisory Committee.
That’s one reason why the decision to scrap the NHS bursary scheme and require trainee nurses and other health care students to take out loans has polarised debate. On the one hand, the government argues that this will create an additional 10,000 university places by making it more financially rewarding for universities to provide places on nursing courses, ultimately significantly increasing the pool of qualified staff. On the other, critics say it will deter people – particularly mature students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds – from applying for nursing courses and will saddle nurses with debt. And this takes place within the context of a wider debate about student finance and calls for it to be reformed.
So what effect has this had on the number of people training to be a nurse? Well, the number of applications for undergraduate nursing places in the UK has dropped dramatically this year: down 19 per cent from 2016.