Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Nurses urge government for alternative to 'appalling' bursary removal

  • 2 Comments

Nurses have issued a further call for the government to reconsider its “appalling” decision to scrap healthcare student bursaries in England at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress.

RCN members voted unanimously in support of a motion that urged the government to work with the union for other options to fund future student training.

During a debate this morning, nurses raised concerns over the lack of mentors and clinical placements to support the additional 10,000 training places the government claims will be created by 2020 under the reforms.

“We are struggling to get meaningful placements at present and there are very few mentors in many cases”

Maura Buchanan

Nurses also reiterated fears that many people would be deterred from training due to debts from taking out loans that would amount to around £50,000, with one claiming it would take a band 5 registrant more than 280 years to pay off.

It was also claimed nurses should in fact be paid for their time in clinical practice because during this time they were working.

Student nurse Kathryn Davies described her bursary as a “lifeline” and said mature students such as herself would find the prospect of debts “incredibly daunting and stressful”.

Student nurse Peter Condon meanwhile added: “Working at an average pay rate of £23,000 it would take 284 years to pay off that debt.”

“Working at an average pay rate of £23,000 it would take 284 years to pay off that debt”

Peter Condon

Maura Buchanan, a former RCN president, stressed concerns about placements. “Tell me where we are going get the [10,000 extra] placements,” she said.

“We are struggling to get meaningful placements at present and there are very few mentors in many cases. The NHS is struggling, the independent sector can’t support them,” said Ms Buchanan.

“What is needed here is proper consultation. Let’s get workforce planning right and get the numbers right and the placements right before we start tinkering with the money,” she added.

The carried motion, submitted by the RCN’s students’ committee, said: “That this meeting of congress is appalled by the unilateral decision to abolish student nurse bursaries and calls on government to work with the RCN to look at all options and agree future student nurse funding arrangements.”

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Did anyone ask why the RCN had failed to lobby against this change prior to the comprehensive spending review? Horse, bolted, gate.... Nice one.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @ANONYMOUS because nobody told the RCN that that's what was planned! Would you tell the RCN what you were planning to do knowing they would oppose it?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.