South Shropshire MP and Health Minister, Philip Dunne, has welcomed the announcement of a 25 per cent increase in the supply of qualified nurses graduating into the NHS workforce.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, the Health Secretary, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, outlined an expansion of nursing degree training places in higher education by 25 per cent. This will deliver self-sufficiency in the years ahead so the NHS can fill vacancies, reduce reliance on migration and end expensive agency rates.
Alongside this was an announcement to deliver a new apprenticeship route into nursing for those who want to earn and learn on the job, rather than qualifying through a traditional university degree. There was also a commitment to a new package around flexible working and housing.
Mr Dunne said: “These were really positive announcements, which will benefit the National Health Service both in Shropshire and across the UK.
By expanding nursing degree training places, and offering new routes for Nursing Associates to become Registered Nurses, we will help deliver self-sufficiency for the future and reduce our reliance on migration and expensive nursing agencies.
Our NHS will need to cope with a million more over 75s over the next decade, so it is important we face up to this challenge, and ensure aspirant nurses can more easily get into the profession.”
Undergraduate nurse training places will increase from 20,680 in 2017-18 to 25,850 in 2018-19. This goes further than the promise of an additional 10,000 places announced in 2015, delivering additional undergraduate nurse training places of up to 15,510 by the end of 2020-21.
To support Registered Nurses, the nursing associate programme will expand from 2,000 to 7,500 people annually. There will be 2,000 places available in 2017, 5,000 places available in 2018, and from 2019 onwards in steady state, there will be 7,500 places available each year.