Health educators respond to UCAS application data on healthcare courses

5 February 2018

Health educators have responded to the release of data showing fewer applications to health and social care courses for entry in 2018/19.

The data published by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows a lower level of applications to higher education by 0.9% across all subjects. The reduction in application numbers for 2018/19 is higher across healthcare courses where the number of applicants have fallen by 10%. Although the fall is more pronounced in England there are also decrease in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said:

“The decline in applications to nursing courses is very concerning and highlights the urgent need for a national campaign to promote the many positive aspects of healthcare careers and counter the negative messages from the recent media coverage of the pressures of working in healthcare and the shortages of nurses”.

The data shows that the number of applicants aged 20 and over fell more sharply than the number of 18 and 19-year old applicants.

“We continue to be particularly concerned about the fall in application rates for mature students. We have consistently identified this as something that needs close monitoring and, if necessary, targeted interventions to mitigate against this particular risk”.

“If we are to see the increase in the number of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals required to ensure that we have the workforce we need, it is vital that we see immediate action to support a growth in student numbers and a robust strategic approach to future workforce planning”.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

  1. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions. For further information: councilofdeans.org.uk.
  2. CoDH briefing on UCAS statistics January 2018
  3. UCAS 2018 cycle applicant figures – January deadline
  4. For more information on this press release, please contact Jon Eames, 07496 693 806.
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