The Scottish Government have announced that the number of training places for nurses and midwives will increase to more than 4,000 in 2019/20, an all-time high for the country.
There will be a total of 4,006 places on nursing and midwifery courses next year, and increase of 283 from the year before and a record number of training places in Scotland.
Of the 283 extra places, 18% will go to learning disability nursing, with 16% to mental health nursing.
Speaking at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman said: ‘We are determined to ensure we recruit and retain the next generation of staff to meet the needs of patients in Scotland.
‘That is why we are again increasing nursing and midwifery student intake, with more than 4,000 places available in 2019/20.’
The news was welcomed by the Royal College of Nursing in Scotland. RCN Scotland Eileen McKenna said: ‘This is a much-needed increase in the number of student places and we are pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to our concerns and recognised that Scotland needs more nurses.
‘Demand for health and social care continues to increase, nursing vacancy rates are at an all-time high and a significant number of nurses are reaching an age where they can retire. A long term solution that projects future demand based on robust evidence and takes account of local recruitment and retention challenges is needed.’
It follows Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last month of an increase to the NHS bursary for student nurses in the country. The bursary will increase to £8,100 from next year, with student nurses receiving £10,000 per year from 2020.