Nursing students to lobby health minister over bursary threat

Nursing students will meet minister Ben Gummer ahead of protests against plan to replace bursaries with loans

Two nursing students will lobby health minister Ben Gummer tomorrow as part of a campaign to retain the NHS nursing bursary.

King's College Nursing and Midwifery Society president Danielle Tiplady and instigator of the Keep the NHS Bursary petition Kat Barber plan to discuss the bursary with the MP.

The government intends to scrap the nursing student bursary in September 2017 and replace it with student loans. Ministers say this will lift the limit on the number of pre-registration training places, allowing an estimated extra 10,000 nurses to train in the next five years. 

But critics say the bursary provides essential financial support for students and its loss will make entry to the profession harder for many. 

Ms Tiplady said: ‘We want to tell Ben Gummer how things are for student nurses, because most politicians don’t have a clue about what we do. And we want to discuss alternative methods of funding nurse education.’

A week of protests against the plans, organised by a group of students called the NHS Bursary Cuts Forum, will begin on February 8. Students at 13 institutions including Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Wolverhampton and Derby College will take part.

One of their initiatives will be a Twitter campaign on February 9 – they are calling it 'tweet Tuesday' – when nursing students and campaign supporters will be encouraged to tweet using '#Huntmustgo', in reference to health secretary Jeremy Hunt. On February 10 – 'walkout Wednesday' – nursing students will leave their placements for one hour.

Click here for information about the week of action. 


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