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Nursing and midwifery university places rise in Northern Ireland

Government funding boost will see 1,335 nursing and midwifery places available in 2022-23, with vacancies making recruitment of more nurses critical
Campus of Queen’s University Belfast

Government funding boost will see 1,335 nursing and midwifery places available in 2022-23, with vacancies making recruitment of more nurses critical

The number of nursing and midwifery university places funded by the Northern Ireland government has increased for another year.

Health minister Robin Swann announced a £2.1 million education and training boost that will see 1,335 nursing and midwifery places available in 2022-23 – an increase of ten on last year.

The funding package also covers the recruitment of 44 international nurses and training of 41 allied health professionals (AHPs).

Mr Swann said the package represents the highest number of nursing and midwifery training paces commissioned by the Northern Ireland government.

Investment

Government funding boost will see 1,335 nursing and midwifery places available in 2022-23, with vacancies making recruitment of more nurses critical

Campus of Queen’s University Belfast
Queen’s University Belfast Picture: iStock

The number of nursing and midwifery university places funded by the Northern Ireland government has increased for another year.

Health minister Robin Swann announced a £2.1 million education and training boost that will see 1,335 nursing and midwifery places available in 2022-23 – an increase of ten on last year.

The funding package also covers the recruitment of 44 international nurses and training of 41 allied health professionals (AHPs).

Mr Swann said the package represents the highest number of nursing and midwifery training paces commissioned by the Northern Ireland government.

Investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce of tomorrow

‘Nursing and midwifery university places were maintained at a record high total of 1,325 in the past two years. This year, despite ongoing budgetary pressures and uncertainty, we are able to maintain that figure and indeed increase it by another ten,’ he said.

‘This represents a vital investment in the nursing and midwifery workforce of tomorrow.’

Students taking notes during a lecture
Picture: iStock

Government-funded nursing and midwifery university training places have increased by nearly 90% since 2015-16, when just 710 places were available.

The latest data show there are 2,340 nursing vacancies in Northern Ireland’s NHS, making recruitment of more nurses critical.

Nurses have been asked to work additional hours and redeployed to plug staffing gaps

In 2021, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust alone saw 579 nurses resign, plunging the trust into a staffing crisis, analysis by Nursing Standard found.

Nurses were asked to work additional hours and redeployed to plug staffing gaps, and spending on agency staff was increased to manage a shortage of nurses at the trust.

Meanwhile, concerns over poor pay are also contributing to retention problems. A large majority of nurses who took part in an RCN Northern Ireland ballot earlier this year said the 3% pay rise they are being awarded is unacceptable.

The college held a vote of NHS members to gauge reaction to the offer, with 92% saying they did not want to accept it.


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