Nursing applications in England up by over a third to 48,830


Health and care ministers have welcomed the latest figures out today showing the number of applications to undergraduate nursing courses this year is a third higher than last year.

UCAS has received 48,830 applications to nursing courses in England, up from 35,960 at the same point last year, representing a 34% increase.

Last year, the number of people accepting a place on a nursing course increased by 27% compared to 2019. Health Education England is working with health and education sector partners to make sure there are enough places for all suitable applicants who will go on to take up vital jobs in the NHS or social care sector.

The figures for England also show an increase in applications of more than 50% among 25 to 34 year olds and 43% among 35-and-overs; and a 41% rise in male applicants.

Minister for Care, Helen Whately said: “I’m delighted to see such an incredible boost in this year’s applications, with more mature applicants helping to contribute to a diverse and truly representative nursing workforce. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to support our health and social care services. These are the nurses of the future who will help the NHS and social care recover from this pandemic and continue to deliver world-class care to patients for years to come. These figures are a testament to the work of Health Education England and UCAS in highlighting nursing as a rewarding and accessible career path, as well as the remarkable achievements of all health and care professionals over the past year. We’re another step closer to delivering 50,000 more nurses for our NHS and providing better healthcare for everyone.”

Industry reaction

Laura Rettie, Vice President of Global Communications at

The NHS has been in the spotlight like never before this past year, so it’s no surprise their magnificent efforts have been recognised by so many who want to be a part of it. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of essential jobs and where the gaps are in the system, causing a shift in what young people value in their careers. Young people want to help and it’s brilliant the pandemic has meant a surge in student nurses.

The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for everyone, but this could be one of the positives that comes out of all this. Our NHS heroes have positively influenced an entire generation, compelling them to consider a career in healthcare – a shift I hope will continue for decades to come, providing the government provide the NHS the funding it deserves.