Government ‘squandering’ nursing apprenticeship prospects, says UNISON

Responding to the latest figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the numbers joining and leaving its register, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“The increase in nurses and midwives joining is woefully short of what’s needed.

“It’s yet more evidence that committed funding for nursing degree apprenticeships is vital.

“Support staff, including healthcare assistants, are eager for the chance to progress, and have already proven they’re dependable. Their contribution to the future NHS workforce would be considerable.

“But employers won’t let them study without more money to cover the days they’re off the wards. The government is squandering this opportunity by failing to invest in apprenticeships.

“It’s time ministers rolled the scheme out widely, and gave support staff incentives to sign up, including proper rates of pay.”

Notes to editors:
– There are currently more than 40,000 nursing, midwifery and allied health professional vacancies in the NHS, according to Health Education England.
– Nursing degree apprenticeships began in September 2017. However, only 260 staff were registered on courses in the 2017 to 2018 academic year.
– Pay rates for nursing apprentices vary widely. UNISON is calling for a new national agreement to ensure that apprentices are paid fairly, and can support themselves while completing their training.

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