Tories miss apprentice nurse recruitment target by 97% as just 30 take up scheme

Ministers have failed spectacularly after missing the Government’s own targets for recruiting apprentice nurses , falling 97 per cent short of its aim.

They vowed to recruit 1,000 apprentices a year, but just 30 have taken up the scheme in its first year.

Ministers made a major announcement in 2016 of plans to use the apprentices to cover the drop in nurse numbers, caused by cutting the bursary for students.

Speaking at GMB union’s annual congress, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said: “The Tories forced the abolition of bursaries for yet more nursing students through the Commons, claiming nursing apprentices would plug the staffing shortfall in our NHS.

“Now, just weeks later, they are refusing to re-commit to their own target after falling short by 97 per cent.

“We are missing tens of thousands of nurses on wards, applications have plummeted and patients are suffering the consequences.”

Most recent figures show there were 34,000 nursing vacancies in January.

Last month, Government forced through a vote to axe nursing bursaries for postgraduates.

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