Consultation on scrapping NHS bursaries ‘scandalous’.

‘The Government’s consultation on scrapping NHS bursaries has been described as “scandalous” by the head of the National Union of Students (NUS).

Making the reference, NUS national president, Megan Dunn, accused the Conservatives of looking only at implementation as opposed to seeking views on whether or not discarding the bursaries is “actually the right thing to do.”

The Government announced on Thursday that it would be carrying out a consultation on how it can “successfully implement” the changes due to come into effect next year when, from 1 August, new nursing, midwifery, and allied health students will no longer receive NHS bursaries.

Instead, the Government has said they will have to gain funding for their tuition fees and living costs through the standard loans system, the Student Loans Company, like other students, which will have to be paid back.

The NUS has said the changes will see these students left with over £50,000 of debt and, because of their required 2,300 practice hours, will effectively “charge” them for working in the NHS.’ – Independent

‘Zeta, who studied a diploma of higher education in nursing before graduating in 2009, said: “My bursary put a roof over my head and food in my fridge, courses applicable to the NHS bursary take a lot of work.

“Students are often forbidden to take work outside of their studies and we often have ‘placements’ where we worked alongside NHS staff, doing the same shifts and weekends but for no extra allowances.

“Why would anyone get themselves into debt to gain degrees where your starting salary is often lower than other degree qualified careers?”’ – Huffington Post
‘Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the RCM, said: “The consequences of scrapping bursaries for student midwives and nurses is detrimental to an already understaffed midwifery profession.

“Women with children and those who already have a first degree will be particularly hit hard if these proposals go ahead as many of these women already make up a large proportion of our current midwifery student base. Currently we have a diverse body of students who come from all walks of life; many are mature, not school leavers, who already have substantial caring and financial commitments.

“Whilst other students can work part-time to offset the costs of their degree programme, this option is not available to student midwives because their academic year is longer and they spend at least half of their time on clinical placements. With potentially catastrophic debts and little prospect of earning to offset these costs, we are concerned that the changes will act as a deterrent to aspiring students and will drastically reduce the number of applicants for pre-registration midwifery programmes.”’ – National Health Executive


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