Nursing students sat in a lecture room

Nursing applications in England increase by a third

Newly-released figures show that UCAS received almost 50,000 applications to nursing courses in England, up by over a third compared to the same point last year.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in interest around careers in healthcare, including nursing, as people recognise and are inspired by the hard work of our healthcare staff.

A total of 48,830 applications were received, up 34% from last year - when UCAS received 35,960 applications. Last year itself had represented a 27% increase on the year previous too.

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 across the NHS and social care sector.

The newly-released figures also showed:

  • an increase in applications of more than 50% among 25 to 34-year olds
  • an increase in applications of more than 43% among 35-and-overs
  • a 41% rise in male applicants

Responding to the figures, 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.

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