'Risks and benefits' to scrapping bursary

England's CNO says nurses and midwives need to take the lead in shaping the NHS
Jane Cummings

Removing the student bursary is sending nursing into 'unchartered territory', England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings has said.

England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings. Credit: John Houlihan

The government announced in July that it would replace bursaries with a tuition fees and loan system for nursing and midwifery students in England from August 2017.

Future implications

In a speech at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2016 conference in Manchester today, Professor Cummings addressed what the recent changes to the profession could mean for the future workforce.

‘Over the past year there have been many announcements on changes to the way we work – revalidation, a new nursing support role, changes to the bursary system and others,’ she told conference delegates.

‘There is so much happening it can be difficult for people to see how it all fits together and why, but we need to go beyond the immediate headlines and see the big picture.

‘Questions have been asked about the impact the planned changes to the bursary system may have.

‘This is uncharted territory and we need to be mindful of the potential risks as well as the potential benefits the removal of the cap on training places could bring.’

Increasing efficiency

Professor Cummings also urged nurses and midwives to help change outdated models of care. She said frontline staff could help the NHS become more efficient by showing where to reduce wasted time, sharing and adopting good practice, and working with the public to explain and agree complex changes.

She added that she was determined the professions would ‘have a seat at the table’ in shaping the future NHS.

‘As the largest group of healthcare professionals, we should take the lead. We should make a case for the change we want to see.’