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Nursing students announce two more days of protest against NHS changes

Organisers say direct action is the only way to 'win this fight'

An emergency rally held to defend the NHS has led to nursing students and junior doctors agreeing two more dates for direct action.

More than 500 people attended the Not Without a Fight, Save our NHS rally in London on Wednesday (February 17). They heard speeches from third-year King’s College London nursing student Danielle Tiplady and British Medical Association junior doctors committee representative Yannis Gourtsoyannis.

The pair explained how chancellor George Osborne’s decision to replace bursaries with loans, and health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors, would affect their professions and the NHS in general.

Ms Tiplady called the rally ‘inspiring’, adding: ‘At the end, everyone left with renewed energy and enthusiasm to win this fight.’

She revealed that more action will take place on February 29 and March 16. The first day will begin at 6.45am at various national locations to be announced, and will involve nursing students handing out leaflets to the patients and public.

The action day on March 16, organised to coincide with the government’s budget announcement, will involve nursing students leaving their placements and studies for an hour to protest in person and online.

Ms Tiplady explained that this would involve flash mobs – where people protest in groups at one specific time and location – as well as using social networks to share photographs of their protests and messages of support.

She added: ‘We really want to stress to everyone how important it is to get involved in this fight.’

She urged students to meet with directors of nursing to obtain their support.

The DH has defended the bursary change, saying it will allow 10,000 more nurses to train over the next four years. The government added that the new contracts for junior doctors are vital to ensure better services at weekends and to provide a full seven-day NHS.

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