Nursing training places

22 February 2017
What was claimed

There are 10,000 more training places available for nurses.

Our verdict

Incorrect. This figure refers to the government’s ambition for additional places by 2020 on nursing, midwifery and allied health courses.

What was claimed

10,000 fewer places on nursing courses have been filled because there are fewer applications.

Our verdict

Incorrect. This figure refers to applications rather than places. There are still more applicants than places.

From this August new nursing, midwifery and allied health professional students from England will no longer be given an NHS bursary, but will instead apply for student loans.

It’s not the case that 10,000 new places are already available as the Prime Minister claimed. The government has said that the policy change means up to 10,000 more training places could be offered by 2020. This is because the number of places universities offer will no longer be capped by the number of bursaries funded. We don’t know how many of these will be on nursing courses.

It’s also incorrect that 10,000 fewer places on nursing courses have been filled. This widely reported figure refers to the drop in applications from England, not places filled. Applications from students in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who aren’t affected by the changes, fell by much smaller amounts.

We don’t know yet how many nursing places will be filled this year—the January deadline for applications has just passed and courses won’t start until September this year.

Not everyone who applies is accepted, and not everyone goes on to work as a nurse in the NHS. Last year 44,000 English students applied and 23,000 were accepted. Some will leave their course or work outside the NHS.

114,000 places on nursing and midwifery courses between 2012 and 2016 will give the equivalent of 84,000 nurses and midwives in the NHS by 2020, according to Health Education England estimates.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.