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National Union of Students lends support to nursing bursary fight

On May 25 the National Union of Students is organising a lobby of parliament with a coalition of trade unions

Students have been invited to put pressure on their MPs and oppose government plans to scrap NHS bursaries.

An event on May 25 has been organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) along with a coalition of partner unions including Unison, Unite and the RCN.

A three-month consultation into the government's proposal to scrap nursing bursaries and replace it with student loans was launched last week, but it will only seek views on how to implement the plan, not on the principle of it. 

NUS president Megan Dunn described the proposal as ‘scandalous’ and added that the government had failed to listen to healthcare students or their representatives.

Last autumn chancellor George Osborne revealed the abolition of bursaries would affect nursing students in England from 2017. Unions believe this will saddle students with more than £50,000 of debt and, because of their required 2,300 practice hours, will effectively charge them for working in the NHS.

Ms Dunn said: ‘It’s scandalous that the consultation fails to seek any views on whether or not scrapping NHS bursaries is actually the right thing to do.

‘Driving students further into such enormous debt is not the solution and will limit access, rather than widen it.

‘This proposal will have a particularly negative impact on mature students and women, especially those who become pregnant during their studies.

‘NUS will be demanding the government reverses this damaging decision.’

Health minister Ben Gummer said the changes will give students more money up front to cover fees and housing costs, remove the current cap on training places and allow 10,000 additional healthcare workers to be in place by 2020.

To find out how to sign up to the NUS's May 25 lobby click here

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