The Council has responded to the announcement today by the Secretary of State for Health of a 25% increase in nursing placements from next year. The additional 5000 places would potentially allow an increase in student numbers to 25,850 in 2018/19.
Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Chair of the Council, said:
“We welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement of an extra 5,000 nursing placements. To allow universities to recruit additional students it is vital that we now see a national campaign to highlight the employability and value of our healthcare professionals and an effective mechanism to deliver this expansion. Adequate investment in the existing workforce and support in their professional development will be essential to expand training capacity, deliver service quality and increase staff retention. We are committed to working with government in getting the balance right between focus on undergraduate study and support and retention of the current workforce”.
The announcement at the the Conservative Party Conference also included a promise to treble the number of nursing associates to 7,500. Professor Webster-Henderson said:
“Although support workers play an important role, they are no substitute for registered nurses. New routes into the profession such as nursing associates draw on the same resources in terms of educators and placement capacity as degree-educated nurses. It is important that nursing associates are not seen as a substitute for nurses educated at degree level. The traditional degree route is still the quickest and most effective way to increase the number of nurses in the workforce.
“We also need to see support for the growth in the numbers of midwives and allied health professionals that is required to ensure that we have the healthcare workforce we need for the future.”