Council response to UCAS application data 2024

15 February 2024

 The University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) has published data following the January 2024 equal consideration deadline for applications to UK undergraduate courses. There has been a 7% decrease in the number of applicants to undergraduate nursing courses across the UK compared to 2023, and 13% decrease in the number of applicants to UK undergraduate midwifery courses.

The Council has published a briefing which summarises some of the key headlines for the whole higher education sector as well as for nursing and midwifery.

Ed Hughes, Chief Executive at the Council of Deans of Health, said:

‘It is very concerning to see the decline in applications to nursing and midwifery courses which has continued this year following the stronger recruitment seen during the pandemic. The reduction appears to be part of a more general trend away from applications to study subjects related to public service professions of which healthcare forms a significant part.  

The fall in nursing and midwifery applications has been particularly driven by a decrease in mature students. In order to support growth and realise the ambitions of the NHS long term workforce plan in England, and the recruitment targets across the rest of the UK, we will need to understand the motivations behind mature student choice as well as some of the profession-specific and regional nuances.

This is not the last opportunity for aspiring healthcare professionals to apply for degree programmes. Our members will continue to work hard to recruit students to the variety of healthcare programmes they offer that lead to fulfilling careers in a broad range of professions and roles over the next few months. Achieving the much-needed expansion of the future healthcare workforce needs concerted action, both nationally and regionally, between government, healthcare employers and education providers to make careers in the health professions, and the programmes which lead to them, more attractive to a wide range of potential students.’

Read the briefing: CoDH briefing UCAS January 2024 application data

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