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New online nursing degree to be established under NHS Long Term Plan

NHS England has announced plans to roll out a new online nursing degree, linked to guaranteed clinical placements, by 2020.

As part of an effort to make nursing training ‘more accessible’ and increase the number of people training to become nurses, the Long Term Plan will launch a nursing degree conducted online in 2020, depending on the speed of regulatory approval.

In order to incentivise mature students, the plan also states that the fees to students will be ‘substantially less’ than the £9,250 a year currently charged to undergraduate students of traditional university courses.

The online course will guarantee placements at NHS trusts and in primary care, the number of which will be increased from 2019/20 to accommodate an increase in nurse undergraduate places at universities.

The Long Term Plan announced an extra 5,000 clinical placements will be funded from 2019/20 – an increase of around 25% - as a response to the Department of Health and Social Care’s plans to increase undergraduate places by the same percentage.

From 2020/21, NHS England will fund clinical placements ‘for as many places as universities fill, up to a 50% increase’, with every nurse or midwife graduating offered a five-year NHS job guarantee within the region where they qualify.

The announcement featured as part of the NHS Long Term Plan’s chapter on workforce development. But details on implementation will follow later in 2019 in a separate workforce implementation plan document.