He is exploring a proposal to allow trainee nurses to live at home and do distance learning degrees, while training on the job in hospital.

Labour MP John Mann discussed the plan with Mr Hunt last week and said he was “receptive” to the idea.

The MP for Bassetlaw said: “At the moment nurses are having to go away to university for three years but most of their time is spent in a hospital.

“It makes more sense to have an Open University style of training where they can have the option of living at home, training at their local hospital where the teaching is brought to them via computer and with tutors coming out to where they are based.”

“This would not only result in more nurses being retained at smaller hospitals, rather than them all being drawn to the big city teaching hospitals but would also bring down the cost of training with no accommodation to pay.

“It would essentially be like an apprenticeship scheme for nurses.”

Mr Mann emphasised that nurses would still be able to go away to university if they wanted but the new scheme would be a different way of gaining the same degree qualification.

He said it would appeal to those wanting to return to nursing later in life, or to students with children.

Daily Express

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