Figures reported by UCAS show a further drop in the number of student nurses.
The Royal College of Nursing is concerned by the new figures from the university admissions service (UCAS) which shows a decline in the number of nursing students in England. The number has fallen by 500 for the latest academic year.
Official NHS figures published last week revealed a record level of vacant nursing posts, in England alone the NHS is short at least 40,000 nurses.
Lara Carmona, Associate Director of Policy and Public Affairs and the Royal College of Nursing, said:
"When there are tens of thousands of vacant nursing jobs, the Government's own policy is driving down the number of trainees year after year. These figures are a harsh reminder for ministers of the need to properly address the staffing crisis that is putting safe and effective treatment patient care at risk."