Nursing degree applications have fallen by 20% since the government replaced bursaries with student loans.

The drop in applications for nursing, midwifery and allied health subjects is also twice that of other courses, according to a survey by the Vice-Chancellors’ body Universities UK.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The drastic fall in nursing applications that we warned would happen has happened.

“We have consistently raised concerns to the Government that their decision to charge fees to nursing students in England and replace NHS bursaries with student loans would result in this drop.

“Despite 100 years’ of nursing knowledge and expertise, our advice fell on deaf ears. The Government went ahead in gambling on the future of the nursing workforce.”

In response, Vice-Chancellors are planning a campaign with health bodies to encourage more people to train as nurses. The campaign is likely to run well beyond the normal deadline for university course applications to encourage candidates to make late submissions or apply through clearing in the summer.

Full story from The RCN 19 December 2016