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Health Series: General Election

Labour government would re-open nursing admissions

Ed Miliband would reopen admissions for highly oversubscribed nursing courses to reduce burden on NHS


A Labour government would get an extra 1,000 nurses into training this year to improve NHS nurse staffing levels, according to a speech given by Ed Miliband in Manchester.

If successful, the Labour leader said that on their first day in office the government would instruct officials to call on universities to reopen admissions for highly oversubscribed nursing courses this year after 30,000 potential nurses were turned down because of a lack of places in 2014, according to The Guardian. The plan would ultimately recruiting 20,000 extra nurses by 2020.

Speaking about the announcement, Julie Attenborough, Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Studies and Workforce Development in the School of Health Sciences at City University London said:

“This announcement goes someway to addressing the longstanding issue of nursing shortages in the NHS. We need more nurses across the UK, and especially in London, to reduce the reliance on costly agency nurses and improve care for people within the NHS. As a result this proposal from Labour could go some way to addressing the issue.

“However, we need to acknowledge that situation is complicated as it’s not just about a universities’ capacity to train new nurses but also the situation at local hospitals where all trainees would be placed. Therefore we need to ensure that recruitment is carefully managed to deliver the best outcome for all parties.”

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