Health Minister Robin Swann has announced more than 1,300 nursing and midwifery pre-registration training places at Northern Ireland universities this year.
The commissioning retains the number of training places at the overall record high of 1,325, first reached last year.
The Minister said: “The commissioning of these pre-registration programmes reaffirms my commitment to build and strengthen the nursing and midwifery workforce from the diverse range of talent available in Northern Ireland.
“The Health and Social care Workforce Strategy 2026 sets out a clear need to ensure that the workforce is both of sufficient size to deliver safe care and also has the best possible combination of skills and expertise to deliver the transformation agenda. The commissioning of these training places also incorporates a priority objective set by New Decade, New Approach (NDNA).”
The training places are apportioned among midwifery and the four fields of nursing practice: adult, children’s, mental health and learning disability. 711 training places have been commissioned from Queen’s University Belfast, 427 from Ulster University, and 187 from the local programmes provided through the Open University.
The Department’s commissioning reflects the full range of access opportunities into nursing and midwifery pre-registration programmes. There is an expansion of graduate entry Masters programmes, while the Open University access route, for staff already working within the Health and Social Care sector, has been retained at the levels reached in recent years.
In conclusion, the Minister said: “The registered nursing and midwifery workforce is the largest staff grouping in the HSC at 35%. Northern Ireland, like the rest of the UK has been experiencing a shortfall in registered nurses and midwives for several years. Significant progress has been made over recent years to increase nursing and midwifery pre-registration training. The further increase to 1,325 training places commissioned in 2020/21 represents an 87% increase from 2015/16.”
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