Protest planned against scrapping of bursaries for student nurses

The King’s College London Nursing and Midwifery Society is organising a protest on Wednesday to make its views known to government officials behind plans to replace grants with loans

Nursing and midwifery students are to gather outside the Department of Health building in London this week to condemn plans to scrap government bursaries.

The event in Whitehall on Wednesday from 2-4pm is being organised by King’s College London Nursing and Midwifery Society following chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement which pledged to replace grants with loans.

Currently more than 800 people have signed up to take part in the static protest which has the support of Unison, the Royal College of Midwives and the RCN’s student committee.

A Facebook page set up to publicise the event said that ministers announced they are removing the NHS bursaries for student nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists, radiographers and dietetics which may also affect paramedics.

The statement added: ‘This means we will be left with thousands of pounds worth of debt, which could take 111 years to pay back from a salary which is capped at a 1% rise over the next four years and not in line with the rising costs of living in the UK.

‘Healthcare degrees are like no other, we work 50% of the time on placement and 50% in university.

‘Our hours are long and demanding both academically and professionally.

‘To have our bursaries removed is insulting and upsetting.

‘Furthermore, these loans will act as a deterrent for people going to university who do not want to be saddled with extortionate debt.

‘Healthcare courses appeal to a wide range of students from all backgrounds and these high costs are very daunting.

‘Already people are saying they are fearful of these costs meaning people are losing their dreams.

‘This is not fair.’

A RCN spokesperson confirmed its student committee would be represented at the protest, while Unison has already spoken out against the planned changes following its recent survey of 2,000 members.

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