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Universities have more time to fill nursing courses

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Higher education providers were given an additional three weeks to fill nursing and midwifery course places, as well as the opportunity to increase their numbers.

The decision to extend the date for course applications, announced by the government on Monday afternoon, comes a few hours before the previous deadline of June 30.

“We have noticed a huge demand from universities for the additional places we have made available for nursing, midwifery or paramedical medicine courses”

Matt hancock

In a statement released today, ministers said “even more” students would apply for nursing, midwifery or allied health courses in England due to “unprecedented demand”.

On May 4, the government offered to fund the increase in places in nursing, midwifery and paramedical care courses in England up to 5,000 this year, if needed, in response to the Covid pandemic -19.

The government said today it has now agreed to extend the universities’ calendar to apply for the additional places until Friday, July 17, and to cover the additional offers over the initial 5,000.

The statement from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs indicates that “a large number of students apply for health courses”.

He added that so far there has been “significant demand” for additional places in a range of courses, including adult nursing, mental health and learning disabilities, as well as the profession of midwifery. wife.

The move follows the latest official figures released last week which revealed that applications to study nursing in the UK were up 6% from last year at university.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) showed that 45,430 people had applied for a nursing degree by the January 2020 deadline, up from 43,630 at the same time in 2019.

Positions have remained vacant in courses for all nursing specializations, with the last deadline in late June fast approaching, UCAS noted.

However, the government said today that universities have “indicated that there is more demand for places.”

“This extension will give them more time and allow them to bid with the assurance that there will be clinical placement capacity,” he said.

Higher education providers who wish to bid for additional healthcare places can now do so until 5 p.m. on July 17, the statement noted.

Recent figures from UCAS suggest that interest in nursing is slowly picking up in the wake of the damage caused by the cut in nursing scholarships in England.

“This pandemic has shown how important our health professionals are”

Matt hancock

In 2016, the last year the government covered the tuition fees for nursing students in the country, 66,730 people applied to study nursing in the UK.

However, the number of applicants dropped to 54,985 in 2017 and then to 50,805 in 2018, before the trend reversed in 2019, when 54,225 people sought to take a nursing course.

The government recently made a partial reversal on its decision to cut financial support for student nurses in England by offering bursaries to those starting in 2020.

However, these students will still need to take out a loan for their tuition fees, while those studying in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales receive their studies for free.

The government statement also referred again to the number of full-time equivalent nurses working in the NHS in England having increased by more than 12,000 in the past year.

According to the latest NHS workforce statistics, over the past year, from March 2019 to March 2020, the number of full-time equivalent nurses increased by 12,131 from 282,422 to 294,553.

Health and Welfare Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Following the fantastic news last Thursday that we have over 12,000 more nurses working in our NHS compared to last year, we found a huge demand from universities for the additional places we have made available in nursing. , midwives or paramedical courses.

“This pandemic has demonstrated how important our healthcare professionals are, and the demand for places shows that there are thousands of potential students looking to train for rewarding careers in our NHS. “

The government previously set an ambitious target of providing 50,000 more nurses by the end of the legislature, a commitment first announced in the Conservative manifesto ahead of the general election.