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In the news this week: 5 minute analysis

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The Unison conference this week provided a platform for members to debate the issues facing the profession. Top of the agenda? You guessed it – the replacement of student nurse bursaries with loans and proposed policy of trainees paying their own £9k a year tuition fees.

Delegates voiced concerns over how the change will affect staffing levels and shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander also put in an appearance to criticise the plans. Meanwhile, in a separate move on the same issue, the RCN’s revealed its official view calling for a ‘rethink’ of the plans.

The union conference also heard views from nurses concerned they could become involved in the coercive treatment of patients with mental health problems if proposed plans to deny welfare benefits to those who refuse treatment become government policy.

Is the NHS exploiting apprentice HCAS through low pay? According to Unison, many hospitals are treating apprentices, including those in healthcare support roles, as “cheap labour” by paying them the minimum wage.

Speaking of finance, two fifths of nurses currently working in London say the cost of housing means they will be forced to leave the capital in the next five years, according to a new survey conducted by the RCN.

Two trusts have come under fire from the CQC this week. Southern Health received criticism for not being proactive in identifying risks to patients and Colchester has been instructed to partner with Ipswich due to unsafe services at Colchester, the CQC stating this “is the only way of securing services for patients long into the future”.

There’s been interesting research findings released this week indicating that giving immunisations in the morning could induce greater, and thus more protective, antibody responses.

Nurses might also be interested in an extensive report by the Royal College of Physicians that concluded electronic cigarettes should be promoted as an alternative to smoking.

Feel good story of the week:

When former sister, Doris Sumption, 89, was the victim of a burglary three years ago she was devastated when the thieves took the gold medal she received for being top of her class in 1946. Ms Sumption contacted the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and this week the trust produced a replica for her, which was donated personally by its chair James Brent.

Read in full: Exeter trust replaces stolen nursing medal for 89-year-old

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