Two thirds of NHS students have been forced to take work on top of their studies to supplement their income, a union has claimed in a new report.
The proportion of nursing and other health students taking on extra jobs has risen from 61% to 68% in 10 years from 2006, according to findings from a survey published in the Unison report.
“It’s time ministers came up with a financial plan that works for students”
It also found that 64% of students working extra hours thought it was affecting their ability to study and 47% had considered leaving their course due to financial hardship.
In addition, the Unison survey suggested that the overwhelming majority – more than 85% – of students were already in debt while they were studying to become health professionals.
Meanwhile, 17% said they had taken out payday loans to get them through the week and a further 11% claimed to have resorted to using food banks to feed themselves or their families.
The report has been published to coincide with a campaign to urge nursing students across England go to their MP’s constituency offices today to lobby against government plans to axe their bursary.
Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: “This report shows many healthcare students are already suffering with debt and working excess hours just to keep their heads above water.
“That’s before they take on student loans to pay course fees,” she said. “Next year things will get much worse as the bursary disappears and they have no option but to take out loans.
“It’s time ministers came up with a financial plan that works for students – and they could start by listening to students attending their constituency surgeries today,” said Ms McAnea.
She added: “If the financial hardship being suffered by NHS students puts off those from ordinary backgrounds, then patients will be the losers.”