Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:54 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 1:54 pm, 13th September 2017

I totally thank the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention. That is absolutely the case. It has never been a negative—in fact it has always been a benefit—that we have attracted people who were a bit older to the role of student nurse. Perhaps they had another degree or a student loan to pay off, but they always had a bit more life experience under their belt.

As a very junior doctor in my first year, I remember what it was like when my hours alternated between 132 and 175, and I had no life that did not involve people who were dying or ill or who had been hit by a car. That is very difficult for a person who has just come out of uni, and who is used to going out for a pint and having parties. There is real advantage in training people who may have had a family and who have lived a bit of life. As Norman Lamb said, there are people who are attracted to nursing but who will not take it up because they will not put their family through it. We have seen that already with a 23% drop in applications.