NHS Nursing bursary cuts

Image: Nursing books by Walt Stoneburner – Creative Commons

[Kieran Burman | Contributing Writer]

Students have been left outraged after The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the government will scrap grants and bursaries for student nurses.

The Conservative government are going to scrap grants and bursaries for student nurses, which will be replaced with student loans and they will be abolishing the cap that is put on the amount of student nurses that can partake in higher education per academic year – something student nurses aren’t too happy about.

NHS have announced efficiency savings at the tune of £22 billion, which includes cutting grants for student nurses; it was unveiled an urgent £3.8 billion increase in funding for NHS England was needed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer declared the NHS as the government’s first priority and believes that the NHS is now going to be funded appropriately including an increase of £60 million in mental health awareness and treatment. It is estimated that replacing Student Nurse Bursaries with loans will save the government £800 million of government spending.

Studying full-time at university and going into the NHS can get you a few benefits including a bursary from the NHS, a £1,000 grant from the NHS and a reduced maintenance loan from Student Finance England. However, student nurses will no longer be involved within that scheme and therefore will miss out on money to live on as well as tuition and maintenance fees. This will leave nurses with an average salary of £24,000 and almost £50,000 of debt.

First year Mental Health Nursing student at the University of Surrey, Indika Fowler, was very disappointed with the plans:

“We rely on our bursary as we can’t uphold a part time job during our placements as we have to work all hours.”

London South Bank University Child Nursing student, Sarah Wallis, was angry at the scrap:

“[The Chancellor of the Exchequer] needs to live a day in my shoes, I already do 12 and a half hour shifts so would not have the time to get a part time job. It’s a disgrace.”

Neither of these students will be affected, however, they feel for the future student nurses, Indika added:

“I feel like a lot of people will be put off the profession as when we graduate we only earn £21,000 so not only will they not earn a lot but they will be in loads of debt too.”

Whilst Sarah revealed that, even though she is covered by the grant, she still struggles financially: “The money I get does not even cover my travel, books or equipment necessary to be a Child Nurse. The student finance doesn’t even cover my rent so the bursary is entirely necessary.

“It is almost impossible to live like this, and I really don’t know how people will cope without the grants.”

It certainly seems unfair that nurses are having their bursaries cut, will it be beneficial in the long run?

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