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Labour warns healthcare course places will be cut by 2,000

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Around 2,000 places to study on nursing, midwifery and clinical healthcare university courses in England have been cut, the Labour party has claimed.

It used Freedom of Information requests to discover there were 29,332 students in 2010 compared to 27,410 this year.

Labour said London and the West Midlands lost 400 and 509 places respectively.

Shadow health secretary John Healey said: “David Cameron promised to protect the NHS but these cuts to the funding of important university courses will mean fewer nurses and midwives in the years to come - and all the while, the Prime Minister continues to waste millions on his reorganisation of the NHS bureaucracy.

“Having railroaded their Health Bill through the House of Commons and with signs of strains emerging across the health service, it is becoming clearer each by the week that you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.”

A Department for Health spokeswoman said: “As a result of the government’s decision to protect the NHS budget, near record numbers of nurses and midwives are working in the NHS.

“Strategic health authorities are working to ensure that student nursing commissions are appropriate to meet local demand in their areas.

“In future, Healthcare Education England, advised by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence, will provide a national overview of workforce planning, to ensure that the plans of local NHS service providers are robust and deliver the high quality workforce the NHS relies upon.”

Commenting on figures on a drop in midwifery training places, Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “If these figures prove to be correct we will be deeply concerned.  

“Just a few months ago the government also promised to maintain the number of midwifery training places. I will be urgently seeking clarification and reassurance on this from the government.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • So Nursing posts are being cut, Nurse training posts will be cut. Do this moronic government want any Nurses left to run the wards?

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  • Cutting the number of training places for nurses and midwives is so short-sighted. Over the next 3 years, whilst these students are training, an increased number of nurses will be reaching retirement age. Many may retire sooner rather than later in view of pensions being under threat. Along with the increased numbers are the years of experience that will be leaving the NHS too. There needs to be the trained staff to replace them. Or is it the governments longer term plan to replace many RNs and RMs with AHPs, the cheaper option?

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