Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has asked if nurses’ work placement hours could be reviewed as it is hindering numbers being able to enter the profession.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Caroline said the University of Brighton, which has a campus in Eastbourne, had experienced a significant rise in the number of applications to study for careers in health work.

“A shortage of training placements is the only real brake on the numbers of would-be students,” she told MPs.

“I understand from having talked to the university that, in the UK, students must complete over 2,000 hours in placement. That is in contrast to Australia’s and New Zealand’s 1,000 hours.

“Is that seemingly high requirement under review with Health Education England so that we do not miss an opportunity to capture this new interest, build the NHS workforce of the future, open opportunities to all those who have the talent to succeed, and further secure my home town as a destination for studying?”

In reply care minister Helen Whately said: “My honourable friend makes a really important point. Nurse education standards are set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Its current standards are based on EU law, but that no longer applies to the UK, and it has launched a survey on whether those standards should change.

“Acceptances for pre-registration nursing programmes at English universities for 2020-21 increased by over 5,000 since the previous year.”

Speaking afterwards, Caroline added: “I am pleased this issue has been acknowledged by those who are able to change the hours. In my view, movement needs to happen on this so that we can ensure everyone who wants to enter a health career can do so.

“This would be a massive boost to the NHS and to the Eastbourne campus too. Leaving the EU has given this flexibility and we should now step up and use it.”