Nursing students set to march again on Department of Health

Row over changes to health education funding behind the protests

Hundreds of nursing students will once again march on government this weekend to show their anger at plans to scrap their bursaries.

Members of the NHS Bursary Cuts Forum have organised the latest event to ensure awareness of the issue remains high in the minds of the public and health staff.

On Saturday, June 4 nursing students will gather outside St Thomas’ Hospital on Westminster Bridge, then at 1pm will proceed past the London Eye, across Waterloo Bridge and along the Strand to Whitehall.

This time there is even a wheelchair-friendly route which starts from Charing Cross station at 2.30pm.

They will then regroup for a rally outside the Department of Health (DH) where a number of speakers, including RCN president Cecilia Anim, will address the crowd.

The march is being supported by organisations and unions including The People's Assembly, King's College London Student Union, Unite, NUS, Unison, the RCN and GMB.

The protest will take place less than four weeks until the deadline for a DH consultation into the plan to replace bursaries with student loans.

The students are especially angry because the consultation, which closes on June 30, invites responses only on how to implement the plan and not on whether it should happen or not.

Opponents argue the changes will deter people from disadvantaged backgrounds from applying for courses while graduating students will be left with up to £60,000 of debt.

However, the government and DH insist the move will allow an additional 10,000 nurses to train in the next four years.

Several protest marches and demonstrations have taken place since chancellor George Osborne announced the plan in his Spending Review last year.

In response, march organiser and third year King's College nursing student Danielle Tiplady created the Don’t Stop Bursaries for NHS Students! petition which has had more than 101,000 signatures.

Ms Tiplady said: ‘If we raise our voices we can send a clear message that this change is not welcome. Please support this petition and us, call on the government to stop this short-sighted, unfair and cruel cut to nurses' bursaries before it is too late and our profession is at risk forever.’

Further information

The DH bursary consultation