Applications to become a nurse in Daventry have dropped by 33 per cent in just a year, new figures show.
It comes after the Government dropped the living support bursary for nursing students, with the Royal College of Nursing saying mature students have been hit particularly hard.
RCN figures show that in 2017, just 40 people applied to start a nursing degree in Daventry – down from 60 in 2016.
Of those who applied last year, 37.5% were accepted onto a course.
It means 15 people started to train for their qualifications, compared to 25 the previous year.
Nurses often continue to work locally, the RCN said, so a drop in applications in one area could point to future nursing staff shortages there.
Nationally, 51,000 people submitted nursing applications last year - 12,000 fewer than in 2016. The number of applications accepted, meanwhile, dropped only slightly.
But hard-to-recruit areas, such as learning disability and mental health nursing, have been hit particularly hard by the drop in mature students, the RCN said.
Dr Anne Corrin, head of professional learning and development at the RCN, said: “A drop in nursing students in key areas could spell disaster for patients in the local community.”
“The Government must put at least £1bn a year back into nursing higher education as part of the Ten Year Plan for the NHS, and increase nurse numbers by offering the next generation of student nurses the support they desperately need.”