Nursing bursaries: Lib Dems and Greens say they would reinstate cash support

Parties’ parliamentary candidates compete for nurses’ votes ahead of 2019 general election

Parliamentary candidates compete for nurses’ votes ahead of 2019 general election

RCN activists protest in 2016 against the proposed removal of the nursing bursary 
Picture: Barney Newman

The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party both say they would reinstate nursing bursaries if they win power in the forthcoming general election.

The Lib Dems said it would restore the bursary in England for mental health and learning disability nursing students, while the Greens pledged £1 billion a year for higher nursing education to restore the bursary.

Political recognition of impact of bursary removal

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said it was 'good news' the Liberal Democrats recognised the impact on nursing student numbers of the bursary's demise in England, announced in 2016. However, she believes the financial help should be restored across all fields.

Professor Kinnair said: 'Without this, and comprehensive measures to retain nurses who are already working, political parties are only promising to fill a leaky bucket.'

She noted the Green Party is the first to back the RCN's calls for the secretary of state for health to be legally accountable for safe staffing.

Election 2019 health pledges from Labour and the Conservatives

Last week, Labour pledged to reinstate the nursing bursary and to recruit 24,000 new nurses over the next five years.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives said they would 6,000 new healthcare workers, including nurses by 2024-25, should they be returned to power.

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