Chancellor must use spending review to fund future nurses

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By  Alex Turnbull

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is calling on the Chancellor to tackle the crisis in the funding of nursing further education in the government spending review due next month.

According to the RCN, the latest figures on acceptances to nursing degree courses show the numbers are down by 8% since 2016, the final year of the bursary, which covered the cost of nurse tuition fees and living costs while on placement.

With the stated aim of the reform in funding described by minsters at the time as of way to boost student numbers, the Royal College of Nursing is urging the Chancellor not to miss the chance to properly invest in nursing further education.

‘We have seen recent announcements of investments in hospitals and more recently a review of the quality of hospital food, yet with all this going on there is silence on investing to grow the workforce,’ said Patricia Marquis, RCN Director for England.

‘Together with our members we are calling on the Chancellor to heed our call during the spending review.’

The RCN say the situation risks getting worse not growing quickly enough to fill the growing vacancies and without an investment of at least £1billion

‘If action is not taken now to boost the number of people starting, and crucially completing, nursing degrees we will continue seeing patient care being put at risk,’ added MS Marquis. ‘We need investment now to ensure the health and care system has the nursing staff it needs to deliver safe and effective patient care.’

The RCN is also calling on members to keep the pressure on the Chancellor by tweeting him with the message:

‘.@sajidjavid, in England there are almost 40,000 vacant nursing posts in the NHS alone. As Chancellor, you can help fix this by investing £1bn a year into nursing higher education. The #SpendingReview is your chance to #FundOurFuture nurses because #safestaffingsaveslives’