Cov could be fac­ing short­age of nurses

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - By JOSEPH HOOK & FIONNULA HAINEY

COVEN­TRY could be fac­ing a short­age of nurses as new fig­ures show ap­pli­ca­tion rates are fall­ing in the city.

Ap­pli­ca­tions to be­come a nurse in the Coven­try South con­stituency have dropped by 37 per cent in just a year.

It comes af­ter the Gov­ern­ment dropped the liv­ing sup­port bur­sary for nurs­ing stu­dents, with the Royal Col­lege of Nurs­ing say­ing ma­ture stu­dents have been hit par­tic­u­larly hard.

Across Coven­try’s three con­stituen­cies, the num­ber also de­creased.

RCN fig­ures show that in 2017, just 95 peo­ple ap­plied to start a nurs­ing de­gree in Coven­try South - down from 150 in 2016.

Of those who ap­plied last year, 52.63 per cent were ac­cepted onto a course.

It means 50 peo­ple started to train for their qual­i­fi­ca­tions, com­pared to 65 the pre­vi­ous year.

Across Coven­try, 395 peo­ple ap­plied to start study­ing as a nurse last year, a 21 per cent drop on the pre­vi­ous year. Ac­cep­tances de­creased from 205 to 195. Nurses of­ten con­tinue to work lo­cally, the RCN said, so a drop in ap­pli­ca­tions in one area could point to fu­ture nurs­ing staff short­ages there.

In Coven­try North West, there was a drop from 150 ap­pli­ca­tions in 2016 to 110 last year. Ac­cep­tances fell from 70 to 60.

In Coven­try North East, ap­pli­ca­tions dropped from 200 to 190, and ac­cep­tances rose from 70 to 85.

Dr Anne Cor­rin, head of pro­fes­sional learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment at the RCN, said: “A drop in nurs­ing stu­dents in key ar­eas could spell dis­as­ter for pa­tients in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“Nurs­ing stu­dents of­ten go on to work for lo­cal hos­pi­tals or other em­ploy­ers, and fewer stu­dents com­ing through will only worsen the re­cruit­ment cri­sis in the area.

“The num­ber of un­filled nurse jobs is ris­ing as the num­ber in ed­u­ca­tion falls, and whether it’s wor­ried par­ents wait­ing hours in A&E or an older per­son who can’t be dis­charged, peo­ple know there are al­ready not enough nurses to pro­vide the care they want for them­selves and their loved ones.

“But there is a way to solve to this. The Gov­ern­ment must put at least £1bn a year back into nurs­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion as part of the Ten Year Plan for the NHS, and in­crease nurse num­bers by of­fer­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dent nurses the sup­port they des­per­ately need.”

Na­tion­ally, 51,000 peo­ple submitted nurs­ing ap­pli­ca­tions last year 12,000 fewer than in 2016.

The num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions ac­cepted, mean­while, dropped only slightly. There were 28,140 peo­ple ac­cepted onto cour­ses in 2017, a one per cent drop.

But hard-to-re­cruit ar­eas, such as learn­ing dis­abil­ity and men­tal health nurs­ing, have been hit par­tic­u­larly hard by the drop in ma­ture stu­dents, the RCN said.

Those aged over 25 are more likely to have care or fam­ily com­mit­ments, and strug­gle to take up study.

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