Figures from UCAS have shown a 16% increase in applications for midwifery and nursing courses for the second year running in England.
Applications for courses increased by 47,320 by the end of June. Last year, applications increased by 6.4% compared to 2018.
The increase comes following the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) figures showing 18,370 more nurses and midwives are now on the permanent register to practice.
The figures show a positive step towards the government’s ambition to increase the workforce by 50,000 by the end of parliament.
In response to the increase, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I’m delighted to see record numbers of nurses and midwives now working in our NHS as we work towards delivering 50,000 more nurses in this parliament.”
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have said they feel encouraged by the latest figures, but has cautioned that the UK must be able to retain midwives to future-proof NHS maternity services.
“Our midwifery education is world-leading and a measure of excellence across the globe, and our graduates and new entrants to the Register are a testament to that. However, we still do not have enough midwives to cope with demand.
“We know that reliance on homegrown talent isn’t enough, and that we have always looked to Europe to build our capacity. Ongoing uncertainty around Brexit has undoubtedly caused a steep decline in midwives coming to the UK from the countries in the EEA.”
Figures show that between January and June 2020 there was a 68% higher application rate in comparison to the same period last year.
Two thirds of applicants living in England are mature students (21 years old and over) – a 24% increase on last year.
New applications or those without an offer will be able to get a place at university through the clearing process which runs from 6th July to 20th October 2020.
New student midwives starting their courses from September will benefit from new guaranteed, additional support of at least £5,000 a year to assist with living costs which will not need to be paid back.
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