The Government has announced 'up-to' 10,000 extra funded places for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England by 2020.
The Department of Health says that it plans to reinvest some of the annual £1.2bn it will save after removing bursaries from student nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals back into training new healthcare professionals.
This news comes only a week after the official end to the NHS Bursary system in England.
'Extra' university places will be available for a range of healthcare roles including; nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The actual number of places will be officially revealed next week when universities begin to fill empty spaces on their courses through their clearing process.
Health Education England (HEE) has previously claimed it received no extra money to fund more clinical placements in the 2017-18 academic year but changes to the way educational placements work could be to blame.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:
“There just aren’t enough nurses in training to fill the thousands of vacant posts, and the removal of student nurse funding is only driving down applications further. Meanwhile, the pay cap is forcing many nurses out of the profession they love".
Many claim the move is part of a bigger plan to create more 'homegrown' nurses as the government fails to reassure nurses from the EU that they will be welcome post-brexit.