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Students to march against scrapping of bursary system

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A protest against the scrapping of free nurse education is to take place in Westminster next week, with more than 500 people expected to attend.

Student nurses from universities across London are planning on marching to the Department of Health in Whitehall to demonstrate about government plans to replace the bursary system with loans from September 2017.

Organised by students from King’s College London, the protest is scheduled to take place between 2pm and 4pm on 2 December.

On their Facebook page, they said: “Healthcare degrees are like no other, we work 50% of the time on placement and 50% in university. Our hours are long and demanding both academically and professionally.

“To have our bursaries removed is insulting and upsetting. Furthermore, these loans will act as a deterrent for people going to university who do not want to be saddled with extortionate debt,” they said.

They added: “Healthcare courses appeal to a wide range of students from all back grounds and these high costs are very daunting. Already people are saying they are fearful of these costs meaning people are losing their dreams. This is not fair.”

“Our hours are long and demanding both academically and professionally”

King’s students

The reforms to education funding for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals were announced by chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday in his autumn spending review.

Mr Osborne said the changes, which could save the government around £800m a year, would remove restraints on the number of places on courses, potentially boosting the workforce by an extra 10,000 graduates during the current parliament.

Universities, which back the move, have also said loans would provide more money up front for students while they were studying than the current bursaries.

But the plans have been criticised by unions who argue that future students will be deterred from choosing nursing, because of the prospect of being saddled with a large loan and a relatively small starting wage.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • If NHS is to recruit + retain enough nurses, will need to pay at least a living wage during training and clinical placements. The hours of placement forms 50% of the course. Like qualified staff, expectation is ongoing training + development, being professional at work, and being able to deliver quality care.
    If there's a post registration tie in period, eg 5 years with NHS it shouldn't be tied to one trust either. Qualified staff can + do migrate between different NHS trusts. If trusts want to develop their staff, more secondment contracts should be available + accessible.
    Currently large numbers of people leave nursing training due to excessive stress + financial burdens with being on both an academic programme as well as full time clinical placements. Post registered nurses leave NHS and/or nursing due to poor conditions of work, poor support, generally being undervalued.

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  • Why just student nurses? If we all go, nurses, Dr's, physios, hca's, housekeepers and make a united stand would we not standard a better chance? The unions can keep their nose out. They couldn't get a shandy in a brewery.

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