Recent figures have shown the number of people applying to train as a nurse in England has fallen by an extra 13%, meaning the total number of applicants over two years fell by a third.

The decrease in number of applicants choosing to study nursing, is believed to be due to the government opting to end free education for all student nurses and switching to the standard loan system.

The government claim their reason for removing the bursary was to create an extra 10,000 training places by 2020.

Figures reported by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show only 29,390 people have applied to study nursing so far, compared to the 33,810 individuals who applied in 2017.

In 2016 there was 43,800 applicants, highlighting the dramatic decrease in applicants since the bursary ended on 1st August 2017.

Clare Marchant, chief executive of UCAS, said: “Today’s figures show that UK higher education continues to be a highly popular choice for 18 year olds, and draws students of all ages from around the world to the UK.”

Marchant added: “However, the application data also highlights continuing falls in demand from older students and to nursing courses in England.”

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Nursing is a wonderful career but the government must do more to make it attractive to the tens of thousands of new nurses we need.”

Continuing, Davies also said: “If ministers fail, they are storing up unimaginable problems for the future […] the staffing crisis must be stopped from spiraling further.”

What are your thoughts on the nursing student bursary being scrapped? Do you think that’s the main reason applications have fallen or are there other factors? Let us know your thoughts.

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