• Number of applicants to study medicine and dentistry has increased to highest number since 2014
  • Medical Schools Council attributes rise in applicants to “positive atmosphere” created by additional places
  • Number of nursing applicants in England fell by 14 percent between 2017 and 2018

Medicine and dentistry applications have risen by 8 per cent between 2017 and 2018 but the number of people applying to do nursing has fallen for the second year running, new data shows.

UCAS statistics show there were 82,380 applications to study medicine and dentistry in 2017, which rose to 89,300 in 2018.

A spokesman for the Medical Schools Council said the government’s commitment to fund 1,500 new places in medicine, with 630 allocated for 2018, has “created a positive atmosphere among applicants and driven numbers up”.

“This increase has been important to counteract the previous admissions cycle, which saw numbers fall,” he said.

The number of EU applicants increased by 4 per cent this year – in 2017 it dropped to 6,730 from 7,890 the year before.

The MSC added it was positive to see that EU applicant numbers were “on the rise again”, following the decrease after the 2016 referendum.

The number of applicants to study nursing in England decreased by 14 percent – from 36,720 in 2017 to 31,750 this year.

This is the second year in a row the number of nursing applicants has dropped in England. Following the removal of the student bursary, numbers fell from 47,390 applicants in England in 2016.

The greatest percentage drop in nursing applications was in applicants over the age of 25, which has been a trend since 2016.

The number of women between aged 25-29 applying to do nursing in England fell by 57 per cent between 2016 and 2018 and for women aged 30-34 the number of applicants fell by 49 per cent during the same period. For 18 year old applicants, there was a 13 per cent drop between 2016 and 2018.

The number of male nurse applicants aged 25-29 also fell during this time period, dropping by 67 percent. For men aged 30-34 the number applicants fell to 270 in 2018 from 660 in 2016. For 18 year old male applicants, there was a 3 percent rise between 2016 and 2018.

Brian Webster-Henderson, chair of the Council of Deans of Health, said the fall in application rates from mature nursing students is a “particular concern” and something the council has “consistently identified as needing close monitoring and, if necessary, targeted interventions to address”.

“If we are to see the increase in the number of nurses that the workforce requires, we need to see immediate action to support a growth in student numbers, including a national campaign to promote healthcare professions as rewarding careers with good employability prospects,” he added.