Last reviewed 9 July 2020

With the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) reporting its largest ever annual increase of registered nursing and midwifery professionals, there is now a record number of nurses and midwives working in the NHS.

Around 18,370 more nurses, midwives and nursing associates are now on the NMC’s permanent register to work in the UK compared to a year ago, bringing the total number to 716,607 by 31 March 2020.

The number of people trained in the UK leaving the register has also fallen to a five-year low.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This pandemic demonstrated just how talented and valued our brilliant nurses and midwives are, and it is fantastic to see an explosion of applications for nursing and midwifery courses.”

As well as a hugely rewarding career in one of the world’s best healthcare systems, he went on, degree students will benefit from at least £5000 a year from the Government in free additional support during their studies.

Mr Hancock also highlighted that the number of nursing and midwifery applicants to English universities has risen for the second year running as the Government works towards delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.

The latest UCAS stats show that applicant numbers for nursing and midwifery courses are up 16% year-on-year, reaching 47,320 by the end of June.

The latest statistics show that nearly two-thirds of nursing and midwifery applicants living in England are mature students aged 21 or over, a 24% increase on last year.

New applicants or those without an offer can still seek a place at university through the clearing process which runs from 6 July to 20 October, the Health Secretary pointed out.