A 9% increase in the number of training places for nurses has been announced by Health Education England (HEE).
The first ever national workforce plan released by the organisation reveals how the £5 billion education and training budget will be used to ensure the NHS meets future demand.
An additional 13,288 new trainee nursing places have been commissioned for 2014/15.
HEE believes this should produce more new nurses for the NHS than ever before, when they graduate and join the workforce in 2017.
HEE chief executive Ian Cumming said: “This is the first time that a workforce plan for England has been produced. This is the culmination of a huge amount of work.
“It brings together a range of views from our 13 Local Education and Training Boards, local employers and stakeholders.”
Dr Peter Carter, Royal College of Nursing chief executive said: “We’ve seen an almost 15 per cent cut in the number of nursing student places commissioned since 2009/2010 while pressures on the health service have continued to increase, so this measure goes some way to addressing the potential shortage of nurses that the RCN has been warning about.
“In the light of evidence in the Francis Inquiry, many subsequent reports and the RCN’s own research, it’s vital that a long-term, sustainable approach to workforce planning is developed. Ensuring that we have enough trained nurses to keep up with demand is vital for patient safety across the NHS for now and for the future.”