Nursing students will be able to claim back more for clinical placement expenses
Travel and accommodation allowances to rise but nurses’ union warns prospective nursing undergraduates will continue to be deterred by ‘eye-watering’ student debt
Nursing students will be able to claim more expenses while on placement as the government looks to make their studies more affordable.
Eligible students on nursing, midwifery and allied health professional courses can now claim 50% more for trips taken as part of their education. It means students can claim £420 per 1,000 miles travelled for placement compared with £280 previously. Financial support for accommodation will also be increased.
Health minister Will Quince said: ‘We want to ensure a diverse range of students can pursue a career in nursing, midwifery or medicine. We have therefore listened to students’ concerns and are taking action to ensure they are appropriately reimbursed for any additional costs of travelling for clinical placements.’
‘Nursing students need their burden of debt lifted’
The RCN welcomed the increased support but said more radical changes are needed to address the shortage of nursing students.
College deputy director for nursing Nichola Ashby said: ‘There is a worrying bigger picture – nursing students accepted on to degrees this month are down 13%. The government must remove the burden of student debt and tuition fees from prospective nurses, and better pay those in the profession.
‘Far more work needs to be done to make nursing attractive to the next generation. The nurses of tomorrow are still being put off by the prospect of eye-watering student debt, low pay, and intolerable working conditions.’
NHS learning support grant remains static, yet government widens access to medical students’ bursary
Financial support for nursing students through the NHS Learning Support Fund will remain the same. The fund is for training grants of up to £5,000 per year, plus up to £3,000 for childcare support or for those on certain programmes.
In contrast, the government confirmed it will widen availability of the NHS Bursary Scheme for medical and dental students by lifting the threshold amount a parent or partner can earn before the student is eligible for support from £24,279 to £26,076.
Nursing students and academics have argued the learning support grant is insufficient. A recent Nursing Standard analysis of student attrition suggested a tuition fees scheme and better financial support would encourage more students into nursing.
Increases to clinical placement expense allowances
- Travel by bicycle: allowance up from 20p to 30p per mile
- Travel by car: up from 28p to 42p per mile
- Accommodation in a hotel or similar: up from £55 to £82.50 per night
- Staying with friends or relatives, but not parents: up from £25 to £37.50 per night
Doubts about achievability of nurse workforce expansion target
If the government is to hit its target to recruit up to 190,000 more nurses by 2037 under the NHS long term workforce plan, it said it expects to provide an additional 24,000 adult nursing degree places per year by 2031.
However, with the number of nursing students accepted on to university courses down for a second consecutive year, there is concern about how these targets can be met.
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