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Nursing student bursaries to be scrapped

Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne confirms that loans will replace existing bursary system for nursing students.

Bursaries for nursing students are to be replaced by loans, chancellor George Osborne announced in his spending review and autumn statement.

Mr Osborne said the move, which will see publicly funded nursing bursaries phased out, will create ‘up to 10,000 new training places’ in this term of parliament.

At the same time, he handed the NHS an emergency £3.8 billion annual funding increase in an attempt to ward off a growing financial crisis in the NHS.

The announcement follows calls earlier this year from the Council of Deans of Health and Universities UK to scrap bursaries and give nursing students loans to cover tuition fees and living expenses.  

Council of Deans of Health and Universities UK said scrapping bursaries would address workforce supply problems as well as ease financial pressures on students, who often take out extra loans to supplement their bursaries.

However, concerns have been raised that the decision will saddle students with more debt.

RCN head of policy Howard Catton told Nursing Standard last week that nursing students could find themselves with debts of up to £50,000 before they graduate.

Details of the chancellor’s plan have yet to be released.   

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