Wigan nurse job applications plummet
There has been a big fall in the number of people applying to be nurses in the borough.
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.
There was a decrease in nursing role candidates cross all four of the constituencies covering the borough, the biggest fall - by a massive 52 per cent - coming in Leigh.
RCN figures show that in 2017, just 70 people applied to start a nursing degree in Leigh – down from 145 in 2016.
Of those who applied last year, 57.14 per cent were accepted onto a course.
It means 40 people started to train for their qualifications, compared to 75 the previous year.
Across Wigan borough, 315 people applied to start studying as a nurse last year, a 30 per cent drop on the previous year.
Acceptances decreased from 225 to 190.
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 the Wigan constituency there was a drop from 110 applications in 2016 to 80 last year.
Acceptances rose from 50 to 55.
In Makerfield, applications dropped from 105 to 85, while acceptances stayed level at 60.
And in Bolton West, applications dropped from 90 to 80, and acceptances fell from 40 to 35.
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.
Dr Anne Corrin, head of professional learning and development at the RCN, said: “A drop in the number of 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.”