Neil Coyle – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Neil Coyle on 2015-12-16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the potential effect of replacing student bursaries with loans on the number of British students entering nursing courses in each of the next five years; and what assessment his Department has made of whether there will be a need to increase international recruitment to the NHS as a consequence of that change.

Ben Gummer

The Government assessment undertaken to date is that nursing is consistently one of the most popular courses on University Central Administration Service (fifth), with 57,000 applicants for around 20,000 nursing places in 2014. Midwifery and Allied Health Professional courses receive higher than average applications as well.

A maximum £9,000 tuition fee for other subjects at higher education institutions was introduced in 2012. Between 2012 and 2014 the number of English domiciled applicants to enter full-time undergraduate courses in the United Kingdom increased by 7.5% (from 454,000 in 2012 to 487,870 in 2014).

We estimate that the reforms will allow universities to be able to offer up to 10,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health training over this parliament. Nursing is currently on the Home Office Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and we recognise the valuable contribution that international nurses have and will continue to make but the Government is committed to reducing the need for overseas nurses within this parliament, nursing will only stay on the SOL list for as long as they are needed.