'Stand shoulder-to-shoulder for future of nursing' urges protest leader
Leading nursing student calls for big turnout over cuts to bursaries at march through London
Nursing students are urging their senior colleagues to join the march against the government’s plan to scrap bursaries.
The People’s Assembly Against Austerity’s national demonstration in London on April 16 is a protest against cuts to public services.
Among the 250,000 people expected to attend the march for health, homes, jobs and education will be King’s College London Nursing and Midwifery Society’s Danielle Tiplady who is leading the #BursaryorBust campaign.
Ms Tiplady, president of the society for pre-reg nurses and midwives who study at the university, has called on nurses and nursing students to increase the pressure on the government ahead of the march, and planned consultation on bursary changes.
‘I cannot stress this enough,’ said Ms Tiplady. ‘Every single nurse, nurse manager, and health professional needs to march shoulder-to-shoulder with us.
‘We know the loss of the bursary does not affect our generation, but nursing students who start their courses from next September will be hit so hard.
‘We are the future "you" but if we cannot afford to study, who is going to replace you when you retire?’
Last year, bursary cuts were proposed by chancellor George Osborne and health secretary Jeremy Hunt. A consultation is due to begin on the proposal within weeks. If approved, nursing students will need to take out loans to pay for their £9,000 a year course fees and living costs from 2017.
Unions predict many will graduate with debts of around £60,000 which may never be paid off.
Ms Tiplady has received support from many organisations including trade unions Unison and Unite who have helped produce badges, fliers, posters and websites in support of the campaign.
She added: ‘The government has put the NHS in crisis.’
In addition to the April 16 march, nursing students are staging a two-hour walkout on Wednesday, April 6 in conjunction with 48 hours of industrial action planned by junior doctors over changes to their contracts.
For full details of the march see the nursing students' #BursaryorBust Facebook page