Posted on May 26, 2016

Student nurse bursary cuts to hit staffing levels

Unions are warning that the plans to change the funding for student nurses could mean that there will be greater staff shortages within the NHS.

The changes are planned to take place from September 2017, with student nurse training funded by loans rather than bursaries. Both the Royal College of Nursing and Unison have issued warnings that people could be put off joining the NHS, and this will make current staff shortages worse.

The Government has argued that the changes will lead to more student nurses being able to take up a place at university. At present, there is a cap on places, but this will change with the funding changes.

Unison and the National Union of Students have employed research experts to analyse the possible impact of the changes. The figures suggest that the number of people starting nursing training could drop by 6.5%. The unions are arguing that being a student nurse is very different to being a student of any other subject as half the time is spent working within the NHS. The long holidays do not exist for student nurses either.

Earlier this month, a Public Accounts Committee report stated that the NHS currently needs around 50,000 front-line staff. Experts are calling upon the Government to pause with the plans and carry out a risk assessment in order to determine what the effect of the changes could be. Healthcare professionals are planning to hold a rally in London to protest against the changes.

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