Government decision to introduce nursing grant is welcome but will not fully address the nursing crisis

18 December 2019

Responding to today’s announcement from the government to introduce a grant for nursing students, Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation, said:

'The NHS doesn’t have enough nurses and we urgently need to increase the number in training. The government’s decision to increase the financial support for student nurses is welcome and will help to encourage people into the profession. Student nurses often cite financial pressures as a key reason why they are unable to continue with their studies. 

‘We previously recommended providing cost of living support as part of analysis jointly conducted with the Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund. It is good to see the government taking this step to address the growing workforce shortage in the NHS, but improving financial support alone will not fully address the nursing crisis.

‘Nurses spend a lot of their time on clinical placements. The government also needs to make sure that the students have good quality clinical placements where they are supported and effectively supervised.  Nursing shortages are most severe in areas like mental health and learning disabilities, so these areas must be a priority for the expansion in nurse training.

‘The nursing shortfall needs to be addressed on multiple fronts. The number of people training as postgraduates needs to triple, along with a marked increase in the annual budget for training and developing nurses and a recognition that a significant number of nurses will also be ethically recruited from abroad.

‘Without taking action on all these fronts, the workforce shortage in nursing risks getting significantly worse over the coming years.’

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
creina.lilburne@health.org.uk
07941 156 827

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