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Student nurses to be paid a wage in return for a work commitment

Both their salary and tuition fees will be paid.

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The “unique” initiative will tackle workforce shortages in the area.

Nursing students in Cornwall will receive a wage and have their course fees paid in return for a commitment to work in the area after they qualify.

Later this year, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT), Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT), Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and Cornwall Council will introduce the “unique” scheme to grow its own workforce as the number of unfilled posts continue to rise.

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The first ‘virtual’ Health and Social Care Academy intake will be autumn this year and will include registered nurses and Clinical Associate Psychologists with the Nursing Associate role being introduced later.

The apprenticeship levy will be used to pay students’ tuition fees but local NHS trusts will foot the bill for wages.

‘A different approach’.

Phil Confue, CFT Chief Executive said: “ If we didn’t come up with a different approach to recruitment and training there would be an additional 114 vacancies in the mental health workforce alone than in 2016. This would be repeated across the different care groups.

“While a strategy of attracting more people to move to Cornwall to work in health and social care is one approach, this would be being tried by every area in England; rather Cornwall has started to embark on the process of “growing our own” staff to meet these gaps.”

“This is a custom made solution for Cornwall,” said Kim O’Keefe, RCHT Director of Nursing.

Guest speaker, Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Chief Nurse from Health Education England described the initiative as “a real step in the right direction” and applauded local leaders by coming up with a plan that was not driven by money but that had been created by identifying local need.

Education

Small rise in student nurse numbers ‘not enough’ meet demand

Ministers claimed the purpose of reforming the funding system was to boost the number of available student places.

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The total number of recruits remains down by 8% overall since the withdrawal of the NHS Bursary.

The number of students accepted onto nursing undergraduate degree courses in England is nowhere near enough to meet the current or future demand, claims the Royal College of Nursing.

Official figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that 16,500 people were accepted onto pre-registration nursing courses in England this year.

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While the figures show a small rise of 4% on last year,  the total number of recruits remains down by 8% overall since the withdrawal of the NHS Bursary system.

When the bursary was axed, ministers claimed the purpose of reforming the funding system for healthcare courses was to boost the number of available student places.

Investment is needed.

The Royal College of Nursing is calling on the Government to invest at least £1b per year into nursing education after its plan to increase numbers has ‘failed to work’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “It is encouraging to see our future nurses being accepted onto courses and we look forward to welcoming them to the nursing workforce.

“The efforts of NHS England to attract more people into nursing is a positive step but today’s figures still show that there will still be fewer nurses than we need entering our understaffed health and care system on completion of their courses.

“If we are to boost the numbers needed to give patients the care they deserve we need to see decisive action through proper and sustained investment in our nurses of the future.”

More work to be done.

The UCAS data also showed a small rise in the number of students accepted onto nursing undergraduate degree courses in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Dr. Katerina Kolyva, Executive Director of the Council of Deans of Health, said that while the small increase is a positive sign “there is more work to be done if we are to provide the future workforce the NHS”.

Adding; “Recruitment to nursing, midwifery and allied health professions courses could be further supported by the introduction of maintenance grants for healthcare students and the NHS recruitment campaign, which was a positive first step, needs to be sustained in future years and extended to focus on all the professions”.

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Education

Nursing application numbers rise by 4% but remain ‘at crisis point’

Despite a small increase, the number of applications remains down by 29% overall.

Ian Snug

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There has been a small rise in the number of student applications in England.

Figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show a small rise in the number of student applications in England.

The number of applications to undergraduate nursing degree courses has risen by 4% in last year with 36,810 people applying in 2019.

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Despite a small increase, the number of applications remains down by 29% overall since 2016, the year in which the bursary, which covered the cost of training to be a nurse, was removed.

This represents an overall fall of 15,030 applications since the change in student funding.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that unless there is an urgent commitment to invest at least £1billon into nursing higher education the Long-Term plan for the NHS will not be able to succeed.

On Tuesday, Matt Hancock told the Health and Social Care Select Committee that he is looking at the overall shortage and that incentives are needed, specifically for shortages in areas like mental health, community and mature students.

We cannot continue as we are.

Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “We need to see a much bigger increase if we are to have the number of nurses we need to sustain health and care services and give patients the care they deserve.

“At the moment, with experienced nurses leaving the workforce due to the pressures generated by the shortage, at best we are papering over the cracks.

“We need to see a sustained investment to grow the supply of our future nurses and the urgent delivery of a long-term plan for the staff of the NHS. We cannot do this without a massive increase in the amount of Government funding to incentivise people to study to become nurse and to support them when they are in full time clinical placements.

“Ministers must stop leaving it all to chance. The Secretary of State told the Health and Social Care Select Committee he is looking at financial incentives but this should not be limited as he described.

“The scale of the challenge facing us means he needs to offer more support to large numbers of would-be nurses.

“What we cannot do is continue as we are. We know patient care is suffering and the staffing crisis simply has to be addressed.”

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