Nursing degree funding: ministers would need to act fast to boost 2020 intake – RCN

College tells party leaders what it thinks they must do to boost nurse workforce

College tells party leaders what it thinks they must do to boost nurse workforce

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The next government would have a five-week window if it wanted to revamp funding for next year's nursing students, the RCN said. 

The college is lobbying politicians to reform nursing student funding in England to attract more undergraduate applications.

There has been a 25% drop in applicants in England since the bursary was scrapped in 2017, says Universities and Colleges Admission Service.

‘Pledges to increase nurse numbers best served by attracting students’

In an election campaign letter to party leaders, RCN general secretary Donna Kinnair said the next government would have only until 15 January – the university application deadline for next September – if it wanted to change the system.  

Professor Kinnair wrote: ‘In England, government financial support must be at least £1 billion annually for nursing students, including living costs and tuition fees.

‘Pledges to increase the number of registered nurses are best served by seizing this window to immediately attract more students to begin their education.’

Although it may be procedurally possible to push through the necessary legislation in just five weeks, it would be unusual for parliament to achieve this so quickly. 

NHS Digital figures show the nursing vacancies in England have hit 43,000.

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