Funding boost for nursing workforce welcomed

Date published: 11 May 2022

Northern Ireland’s Chief Nursing Officer has welcomed the confirmation of 1,335 nursing and midwifery university places for 2022/23.

Chief Nursing Officer Maria McIlgorm

Speaking on International Nurses Day, Maria McIlgorm said: “Nurses have been to the fore of our response to Covid-19 and we fully recognise not only how challenging the pandemic period has been but also the very serious consequences it has had on our workforce. But I want assure my fellow nurses and midwives that we are wholly committed to addressing these challenges and I warmly welcome the increase in student numbers announced by Minister Swann today.

“It’s vital that we continue to grow our future workforce and this investment will help us do that. Today’s announcement more than matches the all-time high student tallies of the last two years. On top of this, we will also be increasing our International Nurse Recruitment Programme to bring a further 44 nurses into the HSC.”

The nursing and midwifery student total forms part of a £2.1m training and education package announced by the Minister today. This also includes funding for further medical specialty and Allied Health Profession (AHP) training posts.

Concluding, Ms McIlgorm said: “I would like to wish all our nurses a happy International Nurses Day today. We are very fortunate to have a highly committed, skilled and experienced nursing and midwifery workforce in Northern Ireland and I want to thank you for everything that you do every day.”

A new campaign developed in collaboration between the Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) of the UK and Ireland and the RCN Foundation has also launched today. The ‘Here for Life’ campaign showcases the professionalism, knowledge, competence and expertise of nurses and midwives and the diverse and rewarding opportunities these roles can offer as a career. More information on the campaign is available by following #HereForLife on social media or by visiting the Here for life website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Maria McIlgorm was appointed to the post of Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for the Department of Health in March 2021. Prior to joining the Department, Maria was a professional advisor within the Scottish Government. Full bio available on the Department of Health website
  2. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email at
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  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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