Nursing unions have called for a student loan forgiveness model for nursing graduates working in the NHS to “help attract and retain more nurses.”

YouGov polling shows that 76 per cent of people back such a scheme, and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has written to the chancellor in a bid to push the move forward. It comes as tens of thousands of nurse posts lay empty and applications to study nursing fell 26 per cent in two years.

RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said: “A loan forgiveness scheme for nurses working in the NHS and public services can stop students being shackled with debt and help attract and retain more nurses – it has huge support among the public too.”