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Helen Whyley, Director RCN Wales, responds to growth in UCAS nursing applications

"To deliver safe, effective, and quality care Wales desperately needs more nurses, so I am pleased to see an increase in the number of nursing applications this year. This increased interest in nursing as a career has surely been inspired by the courageous and dedicated nursing professionals working on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year.

“However, we cannot be complacent: nursing applications do not guarantee nursing places. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 1,600 vacant registered nurse posts in NHS Wales alone.

“Wales led the way in protecting patient care by introducing the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 and whilst we are pleased that the Welsh Government plans to extend section 25B to children’s wards this year, we also want to see it extended to learning disability and mental health nursing. To do this, the Welsh Government must commission more nursing degree places.

“Investment in the nursing profession must be the top priority for the next Welsh Government to show prospective nursing students that they will be joining a profession that is valued. RCN Wales hopes to welcome and support many more new nursing students as they embark on this amazing career.”