Around 60 MPs have signed an early day motion calling for the government to withdraw its plans to scrap bursaries for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England.
The motion, launched three days ago by Labour MP for Ilford North Wes Streeting, noted “serious concerns” about the potential impact of removing bursaries on the recruitment and retention of staff.
“This house has serious concerns about the potential impact of removing NHS bursaries on the recruitment and retention of staff ”
Instead of introducing the reforms, the government should “consult on how it can best fund and support the future healthcare workforce”, stated the motion.
Early day motions are a way to secure a parliamentary debate on a topic but in reality few reach this stage and are instead used to draw attention to an issue.
A parliamentary debate has already taken place on the bursary issue, after a petition launched by Staffordshire University student nurse Kat Barber reached the required number of signatures.
MPs from across different parties have signed this week’s motion, including one from the Conservative party – Maria Caulfield – who is a nurse.
Ms Caulfield spoke of her concerns about the bursary removal at last month’s debate. She said she welcomed reform of funding for nurse training, but claimed the government’s proposals would be off-putting for mature student nurses in particular.
Many MPs at that debate warned the changes could cause an NHS recruitment “disaster”.
Chancellor George Osborne announced the end of free education for healthcare students and a move to loans for tuition fees and day-to-day costs in his spending review in November.
The changes are expected to apply to students in England who are starting university courses in autumn 2017.
Yesterday student nurses walked out of clinical placements for an hour in protest against the reforms.
The walkout follows marches and demonstrations across the country by student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in opposition to the changes over the past few months.
A consultation on how to implement the plans is expected by the end of this month.
MPs were asked to support Wes Streeting’s early day motion:
”That this house celebrates the contribution of student nurses, midwives, allied health professionals and other healthcare staff; has serious concerns about the potential impact of removing NHS bursaries on the recruitment and retention of staff; and calls on the government to drop its plans to remove NHS bursaries and instead consult on how it can best fund and support the future healthcare workforce.”