A Freedom of Information request has revealed around 2,000 places to study on nursing, midwifery and clinical health care courses in England have been cut, Labour has alleged.

The party claim that under the Conservatives, nursing places have been cut from 29,332 students in 2010 to 27,410 this year. They claim London and the West Midlands have been the worst affected, with 400 and 509 lost places respectively.

Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: "David Cameron promised to protect the NHS but these cuts to the funding of important university courses will mean fewer nurses and midwives in the years to come - and all the while, the Prime Minister continues to waste millions on his reorganisation of the NHS bureaucracy.

"Having railroaded their Health Bill through the House of Commons and with signs of strains emerging across the health service, it is becoming clearer by the week that you can't trust the Tories with the NHS."

A Department of Health spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph: "As a result of the Government's decision to protect the NHS budget, near record numbers of nurses and midwives are working in the NHS."

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) expressed concern over the report, saying they are seeking urgent talks with the Government. RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick said: "If these figures prove to be correct we will be deeply concerned.  Just a few months ago the Government also promised to maintain the number of midwifery training places. I will be urgently seeking clarification and reassurance on this from the Government."

Posted by Robert Mair on 12.9.11 Comment on this article by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com 

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