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Burnham pledges to keep bursaries if elected Manchester mayor

  • 6 Comments

Labour MP Andy Burnham has pledged to keep bursaries for student nurses if he becomes the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Announcing his plans for the city today, he said he would introduce a new system of education funding in which bursaries would be provided if nurses agreed to work in the NHS in Greater Manchester for at least five years after qualifying.

This would be funded through reducing NHS spending on agency workers and temporary staff, he said.

“It makes no sense whatsoever to scrap the nursing bursary when our hospitals are already in the grip of agencies”

Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham, who is a former health secretary and shadow health secretary, announced earlier this summer he was putting himself forward as the Labour candidate for the first elected mayor of Greater Manchester, a post that will be created from 2017. The party is still yet to select its official candidate.

Revealing his plans today he said health secretary Jeremy Hunt was “handing over an NHS to Greater Manchester in increasing crisis”.

He said figures showed Greater Manchester hospitals spent over £100m on agency staff last year, which he claimed was almost equivalent to size of their deficit.

“If I am elected mayor, I will set the NHS in Greater Manchester on a different path to the rest of Tory England”

Andy Burnham

“[Jeremy] Hunt’s policies are making matters even worse, not better. It makes no sense whatsoever to scrap the nursing bursary when our hospitals are already in the grip of private staffing agencies,” he said.

“If I am elected mayor, I will set the NHS in Greater Manchester on a different path to the rest of Tory England. I will roll back the privatisation of services, train more home-grown staff and free our hospitals from this vice-like grip of private staffing agencies,” he added.

Mr Burnham also said he wanted to create the country’s first national health and care service, which would “bring social care out of the private sector and in to the NHS”.

To help achieve this, he said he would introduce a new fast-track nursing apprenticeship for young people working in social care.

Last week, the government confirmed bursaries for student nurses in England would be removed from autumn 2017 and that new trainees would have to instead take out loans for university tuition fees and maintenance costs.

The announcement came despite widespread criticism of the proposals by students and nurses, who said the changes would deter people from training due to the prospect of debts of around £50,000 for the three-year degree.

As part of plans to devolve powers from central government out to some cities, Greater Manchester’s mayor will have responsibility over the region’s health services.

  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • Well, duh!

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  • This is surely an undeliverable promise.

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  • Does the seemingly non-existent devolution settlement for England allow for this? If London insists on its special European status,whilst continuing the bizarre idea that the rest of England must be governed by a London-based Parliament, we may as well have regional Parliaments. In which case, this funding of nurse training would be the better side of devolution. Deliverable? Dunno.

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  • I don't often agree with Burnham but if he could pull this off as a model for the rest of England that'd be the way I'd go.
    Due to cuts to social care and profit seeking in social 'care' settings being able to discharge people into the community is becoming neigh impossible within any reasonable time frame.

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  • For clarity in my previous message I refer to profit seeking in the private care sector.

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  • If employers want skilled people to work in their companies they'll have to pay to train them. That's the way it used to be and is more than a fair transaction. Expecting people to pay for skills which are required and necessary for entry into workplaces and the privilege of working for others absurd, how did we get to this point? Paying for your education is one thing, paying for a vocational, skills based course is a whole other story.

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