Nine in ten student nurses would not apply for degree without bursary

Unison conducted a survey of 2,000 of its members with 91% revealing they would not have applied for the nursing degree without a bursary

Nine in ten student nurses revealed they would not have studied for their degree if the current bursary scheme did not exist, a Unison survey has revealed.

Chancellor George Osborne announced on Wednesday that the bursary will be scrapped from September 2017 and student nurses will instead be expected to take out loans to cover their living expenses and tuition fees.

The union surveyed 2,000 of its student nurse members and found 91% of those interviewed would not have applied for a nursing degree without access to the bursary. 

The survey also showed 90% had been in receipt of the bursary.

The union expressed concerns that replacing the scheme with a student loan will mean newly qualified nurses will end up earning just £22,000 but will have debts of more than £50,000.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘This NHS already has a shortage of nurses so making it more expensive and difficult to train new ones makes no sense whatsoever. The government is being less than honest about these changes.

‘New nurses will now have to take a loan to live on, a second for their tuition fees and potentially a third to pay for their compulsory placements in clinical settings. 

‘Half of all student nurses already have children or other caring responsibilities, and hardly any will have spare cash to pay for what looks set up to be a course with exorbitant costs to do a job that pays very little.

‘It is difficult to imagine who and why anyone would want to train as a nurse under those circumstances.

‘George Osborne’s plan is likely to have serious consequences for the number of nurses in this country.’

The Department of Health said the move to loans will mean access to 25% more financial support for health students during their studies.

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