Scotland creates 283 new places for nursing and midwifery students

Boost to bursary and extra places strengthen Scotland's bid to improve nurse recruitment 

Boost to bursary and extra places strengthen Scotland's bid to improve nurse recruitment 

Nursing and midwifery student places in Scotland are to increase by almost 300 in the next academic year.

Picture: John Houlihan

All eligible nursing and midwifery students in the country will also receive an increased bursary over the next two academic years, rising to £10,000 a year by 2020-21.

The non-means-tested and non-repayable bursary has been £6,578 a year since 2009-10.

The Scottish government said upping the 2019-20 student intake, which will mean an additional 283 students across Scotland’s universities, is one of a number of measures to support the sustained recruitment and retention of NHS staff.

Record high 

The 2019-20 intake of 4,006 marks a record high in nursing and midwifery students in Scotland.

This will be up by 7.6% on the 2018-19 total of 3,724 places.

A breakdown of the specialties shows the greatest increase will be in learning disability places which will go up by 18%, with mental health and midwifery places increasing by 16.7% and 13.7% respectively.

Next generation of nurses

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said during a visit to Glasgow Caledonian University: ‘We are acutely aware of the demand across Scotland in a variety of settings and I want to ensure our NHS is well equipped to continue to provide the best possible care for patients.

‘We are determined to recruit and retain the next generation of staff to meet these needs.’

Meeting demands

RCN Scotland associate director of professional practice Eileen McKenna said: ‘This is a much needed increase in the number of student places and we are pleased that the Scottish government has listened to our concerns and recognised that Scotland needs more nurses.

‘Demand for health and social care continues to increase, nursing vacancy rates are at an all-time high and a significant number of nurses are reaching retirement age.

‘Having the right number of nurses to meet demand is a fundamental step for the safety of patients and in ensuring nurses are able to remain in the profession.’

There were a total of 10,239 nursing and midwifery students in Scotland in October 2016 compared with 9,936 in October 2015. The 2017 data will be published next month.

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