London mayor urges rethink on scrapping nursing bursary

Sadiq Khan says move would threaten supply of nurses in the capital

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged the government to halt proposals to scrap bursaries for nursing students, saying the move would endanger the future supply of nurses in the capital.

Sadiq Khan. Picture: Rex

In a letter to the Department of Health, co-signed by London Assembly chair Tony Arbour and heath committee chair Dr Onkar Sahota, the mayor said the plans would worsen London’s health recruitment crisis.

‘London will be impacted heavily by the decision to end the bursary system, due to the higher cost of living in the capital,’ the letter states.

Health inequalities

‘The removal of NHS bursaries may have a profound impact on the already startlingly high level of health inequalities in the capital.

‘We believe recruitment and retention of nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in London will be made harder by the scrapping of student nurse bursaries.

‘We believe that the decision to scrap bursaries is driven by a desire to save money in the short term and that, over the long term, costs will be higher for the NHS both financially and in terms of UK trained workforce.’

The Department of Health said moving to a tuition fees and loans system in England will fund up to 10,000 more training places by 2020 and provide students with about 25% more financial support.

Debt fears

But the proposals have been met with widespread anger from the profession, with the RCN warning future nursing students would be graduating with £50,000 or more of debt.

RCN London regional director Bernell Bussue said: ‘In London we already have a severe shortage of registered nursing staff.

 ‘It is great news that the mayor is backing the RCN’s campaign to save the nursing bursary. Nursing students should be given every support through their training to make sure London’s health system has as many nurses as are needed in the years to come.’


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