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Student bursary removal to go ahead next year, DH confirms


Plans to remove bursaries and introduce a loans system for pre-registration student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England from next year are to go ahead, the government has confirmed.

In its response to a consultation on the proposals published today, the Department of Health said it would however offer tuition and maintenance bursaries for a “capped number” of pre-registration postgraduate students starting in 2017-18.

This would be a “transitional arrangement only for new entrants in 2017 until a longer-term solution is finalised from 2018 onwards”, it said.

“More comprehensive work is required to design a system for administering clinical placements which will be fit for purpose”

Government response to student bursary consultation

It reiterated that students planning to undertake nursing, midwifery and allied health professional subjects as a second undergraduate degree would be able to access loans on the same terms as students studying for a first degree.

In its consultation document, the governement’s plans stated a student who chooses to take a maximum tuition and maintenance loan for three years would graduate with student loan borrowing of between £47,712 and £59,106 depending on the course studied, location and whether or not the student lives in the parental home.

Repayment would be required to start once a graduate was earning £21,000 and constitute 9% of income over that figure. Repayments would stop if their salary dropped below £21,000 a year and the balance written off if they have not paid back their loan after 30 years.

In today’s response to the consultation – which attracted around 1,750 responses – the DH said it had made “a number of provisions” to reflect the fact healthcare students have to spend part of their training on clinical placements, which makes these courses “unique” compared with other subjects.

These provisions include additional funding of £1,000 each year for students with child dependants “to reflect that students undertaking clinical placements may have higher childcare costs than the wider student population”.

In response to concerns that under the loans system students would have to fund £303 themselves before being able to claim for travel and accommodation expenses, the DH said it would cover this initial payment.

The DH said it would also cover the costs of secondary accommodation for students attending clinical placements “if the case for educational provision and value for money is demonstrated”.

“We’ve listened to feedback and we will provide extra funding to cover additional expenses like travel and more support for students with children”

Government response to student bursary consultation

Concerns have previously been raised by nurses that the additional 10,000 extra training places the government said would be created from the reforms could not be supported by the same increase in clinical placements due to capacity issues.

In its response to the consultation, the government reiterated workforce planning body Health Education England would continue to commission the minimum number of placements when the reforms are brought in from August 2017.

It said universities would “be free to create additional placements on top of those” in partnership with local trusts.

“It is the government’s view that more comprehensive work is required to design a system for administering clinical placements which will be fit for purpose,” said the DH, adding proposed options would be published in autumn 2016.

In the foreword to the document, new health minister Philip Dunne reiterated previous government statements that the move to loans would ensure students have up to 25% more money for living costs, that universities could provide more training places and that this would lead to extra staff for the NHS.

He said the DH would monitor application rates to courses and “make interventions where necessary”, in particular for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Announcing the plans, Mr Dunne said: “Currently, two thirds of people who apply to become a nurse aren’t accepted for training – we are committed to plans which could mean up to 10,000 more home-grown nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by the end of this parliament, with those in training getting around 25% more financial support while they study.”

“We’ve listened to feedback from the consultation and as a result will provide extra funding to help cover additional expenses like travel and more support for students with children. We will work with the Royal College of Nursing and other partners in taking this forward.”


Readers' comments (13)

  • I have never seen anything suggesting how much the tuition will be for Nurse training. If it is to be set at the usual £9k per year. How can this be fair given that mainstream students get months and months of holidays per year. If student nurses were to be treated equally and had the same time off it would take another year or more to qualify!

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  • Disgusting.

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  • Universities are about to increase tuition fees will this apply to nursing degrees? I think the decision is so wrong. With an already cheinic shortage of nurses how is scrapping the bursary going to encourage a career in nursing it will only deter.. Unless thet are thinking of increasing the starting salary from £21k to about £30k to pay for the amount of debt they are being forced into. Big mistake!!

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  • Not good at all nobody can afford a loan repayment. Thank god a applied before they made these changes I now wonder how many more will apply as a result of these changes. Not good at all obviously the DH have not adhered to the petitions that were signed against this move. Now watch the rate of older students with families drop due to the ignorance of DH.

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  • michelle harding

    If there had not been the bursary I would not have been able to have under taken my training. Nurses are not valued enough and this just proves it! We do a vital job which gets no recongition and things need to change and nurses need to become valued for what they do!

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  • If you are having to pay for your tuition fees then when the placement can't supply a decent mentor (remember your mentor on the placement does not receive any remuneration for supporting you etc) you will have a reason to complain about your 'tuition' as you are now paying for it...and as someone said earlier you won't be getting weeks of summer leave...perhaps we could reinvent the wheel and the Trust employ you and release you to the University or perhaps we could reinvent 'Schools of Nursing'

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  • Does anyone know when these changes come into effect? Is it February 2017 or September 2017 intake?
    Really disappointed that this has happened. Been trying for a few years now to gain the entry requirements and now this!! What next?! 😭😭

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  • I think the removal of the bursary has to be quite simply one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard of , but sadly I think this well has not yet run dry . #nofaithleft.

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  • I am a nursing student and this is only going to deter people away from wanting to train up as a nurse, leaving university with that amount of debt along with a stressful job is not appealing at all, the numbers will drop for the intake leaving employment worse. Nursing is a unappreciated job and this just shows how little of thought goes out to nurses/ student nurses.

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  • Anthony Johnson

    Haha I haven't actually caught up with this yet but did anyone else notice how they slyly pointed out that they wouldn't be able to increase the number of places because it's dependent upon the universities and trusts signing them off. Get ready for the end folks!

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