Student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals are gearing up for another week of campaigning over the government’s plan to remove bursaries.
In two weeks’ time on 10 February students across the UK are planning to walk out of their clinical placements for an hour from 10am to 11am.
This is to coincide with the junior doctor’s strike, which is due to take place all day.
Those behind the campaign, called Save NHS Bursaries, said they wanted to stand in solidarity with junior doctors – who are striking over changes to their contract and pay – and unite both of their causes.
Students on placement are supernumerary, which means the walkout is not industrial action and that they are able to leave after discussing with a manager.
Those planning to take part in the demonstration are encouraged to speak with their ward managers and mentors in advance.
Meanwhile, on Monday 8 February, students will show support for the campaign by putting up banners, and the day after will send messages on Twitter using the hashtag #HuntMustGo.
- Protest against plans to end bursary attracts thousands
- Students hold protest outside DH against end of bursaries
On Sunday 14 February they plan to post pictures online on social media sites, including Twitter using the #LoveNHS hashtag.
The week of campaigning follows demonstrations across the UK, including a march through London which attracted thousands of people.
Earlier this month a petition sparked a parliamentary debate on the bursary removal, which saw MPs predict an NHS recruitment “disaster” if the plans were to go ahead.
Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has also expressed concerns, saying the proposals “punish” student nurses and would exacerbate the current nurse shortage.
- Bursary removal ‘punishes’ student nurses, says Corbyn
- Bursary removal risks NHS recruitment ‘disaster’, say MPs
- Keep bursary petition passes target needed for MP debate
Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to scrap bursaries and end free university tuition for healthcare students from 2017 in his spending review at the end of last year.
Unions have claimed the move to a loans system – which would see students incur around £50,000 of debt – would be offputting for applicants and will mean less nurses are trained.
However, the government has claimed the changes would increase the number of nurses because universities would be able to offer more course places.