Nursing and midwifery university places see record levels of acceptance as pandemic is belived to inspire a new generation
Record numbers of students have taken places to study nursing or midwifery for the second year running - according to the latest data on university admissions.
Despite a difficult two years for the profession because of the coronavirus pandemic - the numbers of people wishing to embark on a career as a nurse or a midwife is growing.
According to the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) the final figures from the 2021 admission cycle show that 30,185 students accepted a place on a relevant course.
This beat's 2020's existing record of 29,740 people who joined a university or college to study nursing or midwifery - an increase of 1.5%.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, said he believed the efforts of the NHS during the pandemic is inspiring a new generation to join the medical profession.
He said: "It is fantastic to see so many people taking the first steps toward rewarding careers in nursing and midwifery, with record numbers accepting places to study for two years running. I have no doubt the efforts of healthcare staff during the pandemic have inspired a new generation, who will help secure the future of our health and care services.
"We are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament and we’re supporting all eligible nursing and midwifery students with £5,000 a year. I urge anyone who wants an enriching career in the NHS to apply next year."
Professor Mark Radford, chief nurse for Health Education England said reaching 30,000 acceptances onto nursing courses was a major milestone and he is delighted to have seen 2020's previously huge increase rise again by almost 500 applicants by the end of last year.
He explained: "It has been another tough year for the NHS but we have continued to work extremely hard to attract a diverse range of people to this rewarding career.
"The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the vital contributions of our nurses and I am hugely proud of their commitment in these challenging times."
In September 2020 the government introduced training grants for eligible nursing, midwifery and many allied health profession students of at least £5,000 a year, which do not need to be paid back while additional payments of up to £3,000 a year are available for students studying certain specialisms and to help with childcare.
Ruth May, England’s Chief Nursing Officer, added: "Our amazing staff have shown throughout the pandemic what a brilliant job they do and the public recognises now, more than ever, what a vital role nurses, midwives and other health care workers play.
"Being a nurse is a career like no other and I could not recommend it more – there are many different opportunities available in the NHS that are both challenging and rewarding, so please do search NHS careers if you are interested in joining us."