There are more than 16,000 more nurses on our wards since May 2010. The Department of Health and Social Care has put in place significant actions to boost the supply of nurses, ranging from training more nurses, offering new routes into the profession, enhancing reward and pay packages to make nursing more attractive and improve retention, and encouraging those that have left to return to nursing. In 2018 NHS England and Health Education England ran an extensive communication campaign ‘we are the NHS’ which was focused on highlighting the positive image of nursing as a career.
The Department has made available funding for up to 5,000 additional clinical placements for nursing degrees in England.
Apprenticeships play a key role in ensuring the National Health Service has a future workforce, and the Department is committed to broadening routes into nursing. For the first time we now have a complete pathway of apprentice standards into nursing, from entry level Healthcare Support Worker, to Nursing Associate and onto the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship and Advanced Clinical Practice.
The latest data from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) shows that there has been a 4.5% increase in applicants to nursing or midwifery courses at English universities when compared to this time last year, 20181.
The NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019, sets out a vital strategic framework to ensure that over the next ten years the NHS will have the staff it needs. This will ensure that nurses are able to offer the expert compassionate care that they are committed providing.
My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has commissioned Baroness Dido Harding Chair of NHS Improvement, working closely with Sir David Behan Chair of Health Education England, to undertake a programme of work to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan. These programmes will consider proposals to grow the workforce, which will include growing the nursing workforce in order to ensure that the NHS has a sustainable supply of future nurses.
1Latest UCAS data received on 7 February 2019 shows that 34,030 people from all domiciles have applied to study nursing and midwifery courses at English universities as at 15 January 2019.