Boost in nursing applications welcomed by MP and nurse Maria Caulfield

Maria Caulfield MP has welcomed the latest figures showing the number of applications to undergraduate nursing courses this year is a third higher than last year.

UCAS has received 48,830 applications to nursing courses in England, up from 35,960 at the same point last year, representing a 34% increase.

Last year, the number of people accepting a place on a nursing course increased by 27% compared to 2019. Health Education England is working with health and education sector partners to make sure there are enough places for all suitable applicants who will go on to take up vital jobs in the NHS or social care sector.

The figures for England also show:

•             an increase in applications of more than 50% among 25 to 34 year olds and 43% among 35-and-overs

•             a 41% rise in male applicants

Maria Caulfield MP said “It’s fantastic to see so many people choosing to pursue a career in nursing, with over a third more applications. I am so pleased to see so many people choosing to pursue careers in the NHS and social care. Having worked for over 20 years as an NHS nurse I know just what a wonderful and rewarding career it is and am so pleased to see so many choosing nursing as a career.”

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said “I’m delighted to see such an incredible boost in this year’s applications, with more mature applicants helping to contribute to a diverse and truly representative nursing workforce. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to support our health and social care services. These are the nurses of the future who will help the NHS and social care recover from this pandemic and continue to deliver world-class care to patients for years to come.”

“These figures are a testament to the work of Health Education England and UCAS in highlighting nursing as a rewarding and accessible career path, as well as the remarkable achievements of all health and care professionals over the past year. We’re another step closer to delivering 50,000 more nurses for our NHS and providing better healthcare for everyone.”

Last year, the government introduced a new training grant for eligible nursing, midwifery and allied health profession (including paramedic) students of at least £5,000 a year, which does not need to be paid back.

Nursing students will also benefit from additional financial support for childcare and for those who study specialisms which typically have fewer applicants such as mental health or learning disability nursing. Eligibility for this is in line with existing criteria for tuition fee and maintenance support from the Student Loans Company.