From the TUC

Bursary or bust

07 Jan 2016, by Guest in Public services

In the autumn statement, George Osborne announced the scrapping of the NHS bursary for new student nurses, midwives and allied health professions in England from 2017.

Under the current NHS bursary system, no fees are charged and students are entitled to a combination of a non-means tested bursary, a means-tested bursary and a ‘reduced rate’ student loan. This will be replaced with the standard undergraduate system, with fees of up to £9,000 and a much larger student loan for maintenance.

These changes would see students burdened with at least £51,600 of debt, plus interest and any overdraft and commercial debt. This is an enormous sum for many in these professions. Loan repayments will mean a nurse, midwife or allied health professional will lose over £900 in pay a year.

A pre-registration degree requires significant time spent in clinical practice, including early, late, night and weekend shifts as a normal part of their studies. For example, nursing students must complete a minimum of 2,300 hours in clinical practice over the course of their studies. These changes effectively charge students for working in the NHS.

The best asset of the NHS is its workforce. The best way to make the most of this asset is to invest in the future workforce. By scrapping the NHS bursary and uncoupling workforce planning from education commissioning the Government are taking a risk with the future of patient safety and care delivery, and exacerbating the current recruitment crisis.

The Government needs to reconsider these proposals and discuss how best we invest in and support students, rather than making a reckless decision driven by the desire to achieve deficit targets. We’ll be reminding the Government that “people should come before money” (Sir Robert Francis) when we attend the Save the NHS Bursary demonstration in London this Saturday.

NHSBursarySaturday 9th January, nurses, midwives and other supporters will hold a protest march and rally in London this weekend over cuts to NHS Bursaries.

For more information visit Facebook event page

3 Responses to Bursary or bust

  1. Barbara lungalang
    Jan 7th 2016, 10:16 pm

    I trained when my 3 children were still at school. I could never have become a nurse if I was to end up working long shifts in difficult situstions ( mental health) and having to pay to do it. Nurse training in no way compares with the few hours a week some undergraduates put in for their degree plus all the holidays they get whilst the health students are working. Isn’t bad enough that there are nurse shortages everywhere already?

  2. Vivien Mainwaering
    Jan 8th 2016, 1:05 pm

    Nursing moved iin the wrong direction when it became university based rather than hospital based. There is nothing wrong with the idea that nursing shouls included graduate nursing staff but there is ample room to include a large number of nurses who have a vital range of nursing skills without suitable academic skills. In particular I am thinking of many long term health care assistances who have gained practical and people handling skills over many years and come from poor backgrounds where generations have just struggled to survive.

  3. Migration Advisory Committee report calls for public sector pay rise – but there’s a few snags
    Jan 28th 2016, 12:03 pm

    […] Shortages in health and education have particularly been increased by cuts to training.  In 2010 – 2011, the government cut training for student nursing places which means there are less qualified nurses available to the NHS to recruit.  Meanwhile the Chancellor recently erected a significant barrier in the way of to anyone interested in training as a nurse (particularly from lower income backgrounds) by announcing plans to scrap bursaries for nursing . […]