The total of rejected applications for Nursing numbers 37,000 individuals annually, according to Emily Dugan in the Independent 22nd June 2015 (New migrant rules will cost NHS thousands of nurses, says union & Nursing body fears “chaos” with new visa rules.). It is difficult to gauge the exact number of nurses because of the complexity of scales and grades, so that even Wikipedia does not hazard a guess. In the same paper, Charlie Cooper warned 12th November 2013: Coalition cuts blamed for shortage of 20,000 NHS nurses and the Mail says 3 days later “80,000 UK students are told they can’t train as a nurse …“
With so many disappointed and rejected students, who lose their opportunity, even though good enough, because of capacity rationing and short-termism, readers will hardly be surprised to hear the disillusion in the professions. When those potential places are filled by overseas applicants, many of whom have paid for their training (which is of dubious standard) privately, some 10 years later, the country should be saying “we get what we deserve”. It is a mixture of political cowardice and short termism, public denial, and the first past the post political system which is responsible. Unfortunately the media hate the prospect of any form of Proportional Representation as it might help longer term planning, and it leads to less adversarial policies, so less “news” to sell.
The problem is similar in Medicine. Wikipedia gives the numbers and ratios for interviews and acceptances for the different medical schools. This is available for download here: Med School Places 2014. You can see there are approx. 67,000 applicants annually for 6,500 places. Are there enough nurses and doctors? The situation is a disgrace and a scandal, and needs a war like atmosphere of honesty to address it… The spending on agency doctors and nurses in Germany and many other countries is minimal, and their population/nurse ratio is similar to ours (2007). OECD figures suggest they, and several other countries (with rationing by co-payments of course) are simply more efficient. Meanwhile, if we don’t ration, we need more…..