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Students to lobby MPs at Westminster over bursaries

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Student nurses and midwives from across the country are to gather at Westminster in London next week to lobby members of parliament over the government’s plans to remove bursaries next year.

The proposals would see the end of free education for healthcare students in England and the move to a loans system for both tuition fees and maintenance costs from August 2017.

“These are rotten plans – set to dump tens of thousands of pounds of new debt onto student midwives. The government should drop them”

Stuart Bonar

Unions have called for the proposals to be dropped and are urging students to take part in the lobby on Wednesday 25 May to let MPs know their concerns.

Organisations co-ordinating the event include Unison, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing and the National Union of Students.

Those that cannot attend the lobby are being encouraged to write to their MPs and ask them to make a public call for the government to drop its plans for scrapping bursaries.

Speaking in a blog post, RCM public affairs advisor Stuart Bonar said: “The RCM has been actively opposing these plans since they were announced by the government at the end of last year.

“They are rotten plans – set to dump tens of thousands of pounds of new debt onto student midwives,” he said. “The government should drop them.”

“If enough people write to their MPs it has an effect. It really does. I hope you can help us oppose these plans, which will load down future midwives with eye-watering levels of debt,” he added.

The lobby is due to take place from 10am until 4pm at the Houses of Parliament in London.

A government consultation on how to implement the plans to remove bursaries is ongoing until 30 June.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • I am a retired teacher/lecturer in social sciences and cannot believe how the government can compare nursing and midwifery students with students on other university courses. They have a completely different experience and should be treated differently. It defies logic that the government expects students to come forward and pay for their own training. If they want nurses to 'pay their way', why not introduce a system whereby you have to work in the NHS for 5 years post training (with exceptions where applicable). Many students go into nursing when they are older, my daughter was planning to do this. But she already has student loans and is now having to reconsider her future. She is surely not alone, the NHS risks losing talented and life experienced students who will not be able to afford to train in nursing /midwifery. This is such a shortsighted change of policy and I can only assume the government is prepared to have fewer nurses and midwives in the future.

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  • Kate, I couldn't agree more! Nurses are currently "paying their way" with a cost of living shortfall of 15% since 2008 and we have nurse shortages which mean we cannot afford to ignore the mature entrants for whom a loan (albeit one the government suggests will never be paid off, which suggests in turn further pay shrinkage in real terms and a dearth of career development) is that leap into the dark their finances will not allow. Bursaries while not perfect are at least a recognition of the different nature of burse training, and to lose them in what can only be seen as a treasury grab back is potentially disastrous

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