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RCN calls on government to protect bursaries

MPs due to take part in parliamentary adjournment debate tonight

The RCN has called for the future of nursing to be protected in the wake of this evening’s adjournment debate in parliament on the plan to end government funding for nurse education and training.

Last month chancellor George Osborne announced that he would scrap bursaries for nursing students to save £800 million a year. This will mean nursing students will have to apply for loans from September 2017.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies criticised the government for failing to consult the RCN on the changes. She said: 'Nursing students are not like other students. They spend half their time doing clinical work and because their academic year is so long they have little opportunity to earn money in their spare time. They also tend to be older, with families to support.

'Replacing bursaries with hefty loans will pile on more financial pressure to an already overstretched part of our healthcare workforce. And it’s not even as if money will be saved in the long run as many will be unable to pay the loans back fully. This makes little financial sense.'

She added that hundreds of current and potential nursing students had contacted the RCN to share their concerns. A petition against the changes, which gained more than 137,000 signatures in one week, will be debated next year in parliament on January 11.

The Keep the NHS Bursary petition currently stands at almost 150,000 signatures. To add your signature click here

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