Newly-released data on university admissions published by UCAS has shown a record number of students accepting places to study nursing and midwifery in England this year.
With Covid-19 having put significant emphasis on the health and social care sector, it’s believed to have led to a much greater number of people to consider training for careers in healthcare.
The final figures for this year’s admission cycle show there were 29,740 acceptances to nursing and midwifery courses in England – some 6,110 more than the previous year and an increase of more than a quarter (26%).
There was also a significant increase seen among students aged 35 years and older, up 43% on the previous year and representing 6,770 of the accepted places (23%).
During the period between January 15 and June 30, the number of new nursing applicants to English providers was 4,600 higher (68%) than the same period last year.
The first lockdown period, between March 23 and the June 30 application deadline, saw nearly double the number of applications to nursing compared with the same period the previous year.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people choosing to pursue a career in nursing and midwifery, with over a quarter more students starting on courses. This year has shown just how much we depend on nurses. I have no doubt that their incredible work has inspired the next generation to pursue careers in the NHS and social care.
“This year we’ve also introduced a new training grant for nursing students of at least £5,000 a year, helping to remove the barriers for anyone considering this brilliant career.
“With over 14,800 more nurses working in our NHS compared to last year, we are on our way to delivering 50,000 more by the end of this Parliament to help us build back better.”
The Government introduced training grants for eligible nursing, midwifery and many allied health profession students of at least £5,000 a year, which does not need to be paid back. Additional payments of up to £3,000 will be available for specialisms struggling to recruit, including learning disability and mental health nursing and to help students cover childcare costs.
Data up to the end of August showed the number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 14,813 compared with last year.