Labour has pledged to make increasing the number of nurse training places in the NHS “one of the first things” it would do if it wins the general election in May.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said further details would be provided about the pledge today as the party unveils its 10 year plan for the NHS.
Speaking to reporters on 26 January ahead of the publication of the party’s NHS blueprint, Mr Burnham said more training places would be available from September 2015.
He said: “Some trusts are facing a spiraling agency bill; a spiraling bill for overseas recruitment. The NHS basically is trapped now without the staff it needs.
“Immediately [we will] commission more places for the courses beginning in September 2015. And beyond that expand apprenticeships…we will say more about that tomorrow.
He said there were “lots of young people out there who might aspire to work in the NHS but who now might see it more because of changes in higher education and changes in fees”.
The pledge follows the party announcing last year it would inject an additional £2.5bn of funding into the NHS each year to pay for 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
The shadow health secretary also said that he wanted to see district nurses, alongside GPs, at the centre of “highly integrated teams” to provide the vision for whole person care as set out in the Oldham review.
“We are saying that the home is the default setting care. The district nurse is going to have a huge role to play in that,” he said.