One-year extension of nursing bursary isn’t enough, RCN tells ministers in Wales

College criticises Welsh government’s repeated short-term commitments to student funding

College criticises Welsh government’s repeated short-term commitments to student funding

Helen Whyley, director of RCN Wales.

The RCN has criticised the government in Wales for failing to extend the nursing bursary by more than a year.

Ministers announced the bursary would carry on for students starting nursing, midwifery and allied health professional courses in the 2020-21 academic year.

Health minister Vaughan Gething.

‘This cannot continue indefinitely’

But RCN Wales criticised this limited extension. Director Helen Whyley said: ‘Yet again we have a one-year extension to an essential funding stream for undergraduate nursing programmes, and it cannot continue indefinitely’.

Dame Donna Kinnair,
RCN general secretary.

‘While there is a strong supply of applicants for student places at Welsh universities, with the lowest attrition rate in the UK, we can’t make the most of this offer when it continues to be so short-term.’

‘This demonstrates our commitment to the workforce’

However, health minister Vaughan Gething said the move in fact demonstrated the government’s commitment to the workforce.

Mr Gething said: ‘By extending this support package, I want to demonstrate how much we value our healthcare workforce and are committed to supporting them through their studies.'

What is the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme?

The scheme includes:

  • The cost of tuition fees
  • A non-means tested grant of £1,000
  • A means tested bursary of up to £2,643 per year
  • Additional allowances if students meet the criteria, including having dependents
  • The nursing student must commit to practise in Wales for at least two years on qualifying


RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair reiterated the college’s calls for the Westminster government to reinvest £1 billion into nursing education in England.

‘The abolition of the bursary in England has failed to increase the numbers as intended, and the prospect of debt is deterring students from choosing nursing,' she said.

Related material

More information on the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme

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