Simon Hamilton announces funding for 100 additional nurses to be trained
One hundred additional nurse training places are being made available in Northern Ireland.
Health Minister Simon Hamilton said the announcement represented a 15% increase and brings the number of pre registration places available in the region, to 745.
The DUP MLA said: "Nurses are central to the delivery of safe, effective and compassionate care.
"Even though we have increased the number of front-line nurses and midwives in the HSC by 1,200 over the past four and a half years, I recognise that the demand for nurses across our health system continues to rise."
The places will be available through Queen's University, Ulster University and the Open University from the autumn.
Meanwhile the minister is also setting up a new task group to make recommendations about the future delivery of nursing and midwifery over the next 10 to 15 years.
"It will inform the development of new and exciting roles, building on the existing skills of our graduate workforce to lead the transformational changes required to deliver the world class health service to which we all aspire," added Mr Hamilton.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has welcomed the announcement.
Northern Ireland director, Janice Smyth said: "The nursing profession is facing unprecedented pressure and the RCN believes that an independently chaired review group is urgently required.
"This provides an opportunity to ensure an approach that promotes health and wellbeing, identifies and embraces innovative practice and work already undertaken in Northern Ireland and is informed by evidence of best practice here, across the UK and further afield."