The NHS are urging people to apply for nursing and midwifery jobs as applications continue to fall.

The vacancies being advertised for nurses and midwives had risen by 20 percent at the end of 2017 in comparison to two years ago, with a total of 133,660 vacant posts advertised in 2017.

At the same time, the number of applications dropped by 12.2 percent between the last quarters of 2015 and 2017, as a result the NHS have put out a desperate call for the recruitment of new staff.

The number of nurses and midwives in England has hardly risen in the span of 9 years, the number rising from 338,976 in September 2009 to 345,482 in April 2018, from data compiled by the NHS.

In a bid to increase the number of nurses and midwives, the NHS has been advertising more vacancies- with a 18.7 percent increase in the first quarter of this year compared to the start of 2016. But the number of applications for these roles has remained in a general decline.

Towards the end of 2015 there were 103,826 applications for nursing and midwifery roles, however by the end of 2017 this number fell to 91,189.

In addition to the fall in applications, the NHS has been shortlisting fewer of these applications because of job suitability. By the end of 2015 42,283 applicants were shortlisted, that number then fell to 22,359 by the end of 2017. A fall of 47.1 percent.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing remarked, 'It's very worrying that the number of vacant posts for nurses and midwives has increased more than those for any type of clinical staff.'

'We also know that not all vacant nurse jobs are even advertised in the current climate, so these figures will be an under-estimate. They bear out what patients, their families and our own surveys repeatedly tell us- that there just aren't enough nurses to provide safe care.'

According to Labour, the data only proves the wider struggle to fill an increasing number vacancies across the NHS. Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary said, ' The Goverment's total mismanagement of the NHS workforce has left huge numbers of posts unfilled and unacceptably puts patients at risk.'

'Unfair pay restraints from Ministers have created these enormous staffing shortages. The cuts to bursaries have driven down the numbers of students applying for health degrees while the Government's chaotic handling of Brexit has put off increasing numbers of desperately needed medical staff from coming to the UK to care for our sick and elderly. The Government's NHS workforce plan was meant to be published this summer and is still nowhere to be seen.'

The current situation has then been exacerbated by the fact that the government confirmed that they would be ending bursaries for student nurses and midwives from 2018, claiming that this would be free up £800 million a year and create additional nursing job roles.

If applications continue to fall then the NHS may find itself increasingly reliant on agency nurses to plug the gaps.