Between 2010 and 2013, 52,528 new pre-registration nurse training places were filled, and this year Health Education England has made 19,206 new places available.
It is interesting that the Secretary of State cannot follow his own advice about not making operational matters in the NHS political footballs. Perhaps we can try again. The number of nurse training places has been cut by thousands since 2010—a key issue given the need of hospitals to reach safe staffing levels. The Royal College of Nursing has said that Labour’s plans for 20,000 more nurses are absolutely necessary. Does the Minister agree?
It is right that hospitals respond when there are not enough staff working there, if that is affecting patient care. That is why under this Government 2,500 more nursing staff are working now than in 2010. That is progress to ensure that we are facing up to challenges in care where they exist at local hospitals.
Russells Hall hospital in the borough of Dudley has appointed 56 new nurses from overseas since the Keogh review last year. Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the graduate trainee programme for nursing that Russells Hall has put in place, which will provide for 100 trained nurses over future years?