Applications for nursing degrees continued to fall in England, dropping nearly 5,000 from last year, according to the latest official figures.
Data released by the Universities and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS) marks the end of the main application period and confirms that applications for nursing courses have declined by about a third in the two years since the start of the year. abolition of the nursing scholarship.
A total of 35,260 people from England applied to study nursing at university next year, up from 40,060 who applied at the same time in 2017, according to the UCAS report.
This represents a 12% decrease in the number from last year – 4,800 fewer applications for nursing courses. Overall, there has been a 32% drop in applications since March 2016 – the last year students received financial support.
The decline in the number of mature students over 25 applying for nursing degrees has been even more extreme, with a 16% drop by the June 30 deadline from the previous year and a drop in total of 40% since June 2016.
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There has been a 19% drop among those 25 to 29 years old since last year, a 15% drop among those 30 to 35 years old and a 14% drop in claims among those 35 and over.
Figures from UCAS, which come just a week after England’s NHS launched a major recruitment drive for nurses, suggest the industry should prepare for a drop in actual student numbers in September.
In September 2017, 700 fewer students started nursing education than the previous year – the first batch after changes in student funding.
Today’s UCAS report also shows that the number of applications for nursing courses in Northern Ireland has fallen by 7%. However, the number of applications from Scotland increased by 2% and from Wales by 1%.
All other applications for nursing courses will now be processed through compensation.
The Royal College of Nursing said the figures showed the decision to cut the scholarship in England had been “a disaster” amid a continuing shortage of nurses.
“Not recruiting more nurses puts patients at risk, and with 40,000 vacant nursing positions in England alone, we cannot sit idly by and watch applications drop year after year,” said said RCN Executive Director and Secretary General Janet Davies.
âIt is now clear that the removal of the stock market was a disaster,â she said. âIt is time for ministers to take another look at this policy, before patients suffer the consequences. “
She said the decline in the number of mature students applying to study nursing was of “particular concern”.
âThese students represent a vital part of the nursing workforce, particularly in the area of ââmental health and learning disabilities,â she said.
“These are the areas that benefit the most from the life experience of mature students and where the nursing shortage is greatest,” said Ms. Davies.
She added, âWe urgently need financial incentives to attract more students to the profession, and nursing students need to be encouraged and supported.
UCAS data shows an 8% drop in the number of EU students applying for nursing courses in the UK. However, the number of applicants from non-EU countries increased by 13% to 750.
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Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Chairman of the Council of Deans of Health, said: âThe decline in applications for nursing courses remains a concern and will continue to require close monitoring, especially for mature students and fields facing challenges. recruitment difficulties.
“However, we welcome the recent campaigns by Health Careers and the Department of Health and Social Affairs to promote courses and careers in the health field and we will continue to work closely with our partners to support these. campaigns, âhe said.