PLANS are afoot to train future NHS workers locally to help tackle the problem of recruiting enough nurses and midwives in Somerset.

The county, in line with many other areas of the country, is struggling to find enough nurses for our health and care services.

Consultants were commissioned earlier this year to look into reversing the trend.

Local people were asked if they fancied a career in nursing and how training could be made more accessible.

Health and care services will use the information from the research to make it easier for people to train as nurses in Somerset.

By working with education providers, they hope to offer a locally available nursing degree programme to Somerset residents in the near future.

Helen Stapleton, Somerset sustainability and transformation partnership workforce programme lead, said: "The findings (of the research) clearly show there is a strong interest in training to become a registered nurse or midwife in Somerset.

"This interest is very strong among people in their 20s and 30s, many of whom already work in other roles in health and care services.

"This is great news but we know that there are many factors which make a difference to people actually being able to train."

Respondents said the most important factors affecting their ability to pursue a career in nursing or midwifery are being able to:

•access a local training base so they don’t have to leave home to go to university to study;

•earn or receive some financial support while studying so they can support themselves and their families;

•access flexible training options such as term-time or part-time study, online or mobile learning to help manage the balance between work, study, home and personal commitments.

Jo Howarth, deputy chief nurse at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: "It is wonderful to see that there is so much interest in nursing and midwifery in Somerset.

"The data from the survey and the findings from our focus groups are really important in helping us shape our plans.

"Senior nurses from across the NHS in Somerset are now working with colleagues in general practice, social care and others in an exciting partnership with Bridgwater and Taunton College with the aim of bringing a new nurse training programme to Somerset.

"Our ambition is to offer local nursing and midwifery training which is tailored to meet the needs of people in Somerset. This won’t happen overnight but we are committed to making nursing and midwifery training more accessible to our people."