In Novembers’ spending review, it was announced that the current bursary given to nurses, midwives, and other care givers in training, would be scrapped. And replaced with a loan.
The government suggested that this would mean students get an extra 25% in financial support, as well as creating an extra 10,000 training places by the end of the parliament.
But… Here’s the problem(s)
- Outside London, the average starting salary for a nurse is around £21,000, much less than the average annual salary for an employee working full time in the UK. Loans, mean debts. And with a relatively low salary anyway, it will be even more difficult to pay off their loan debt, something they wouldn’t have to worry about if they were given a bursary.
- Around half of a nurses’ degree course is spent on a training work placement, which is unpaid. So by replacing the bursary with a loan, the government is effectively asking for students to pay to work for the NHS.
- Having to spend long hours on practical placements, also means it is difficult for nurses to find other part time jobs to suppplement their finances. Whereas, many other university students are able to.
- There is already a shortage of qualified nurses and medical care givers’ in the UK. Scrapping bursaries is only likely to make the situation worse, as students will be deterred by the lack of financial support, and may not be able to see the gain in the future, with the weight of future debts hanging over them.
- Nurses and professions of the like, bear a lot more responsibility. they have a duty of care like no other job. Furthermore, the motivation to train as a nurse is unlikely to be for financial reasoning, and rather to genuinely do good and help. Isn’t that reason enough to encourage our future nurses and carers?
These reasons, amongst many more, are why people are taking to the streets today to, rightly, protest against the scrapping of the incredibly important bursaries. It’s not just a matter of importance to our future nurses but also for the future of our NHS.