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Primary Care

Sharp drop in the number of mature student nurses

Nursing Notes

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There has been a sharp drop in the number of mature students applying for nursing courses following the removal of the NHS Bursary.

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, data shows a drop of more than 25% in the number of over-25s applying to begin courses with 6,000 fewer mature students applying (March 2016 v March 2017).

Overall nursing degree applications have dropped by 23 per cent.

The Royal College of Nursing and Unison have consistently warned the Government that its decision to scrap bursaries and start charging fees would result in a decreased number of applications.

Nursing degree students in England will pay fees from August 2017.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “Ministers were warned of this worrying trend in January and they had two months before the final application deadline to sort it out. The Government scrapped the bursaries students relied on and imposed fees. This leaves a serious concern that the Government is storing up problems for the future.”

Mature applicants bring much-valued life experience into nursing but are also particularly drawn to the parts of the NHS that find it hardest to recruit, such as  mental health and learning disability services.

“Plans to transform mental health care rely on these nurses and the Government must not allow services to be hampered by the fall,” added Janet.

Primary Care

Morning after pill can now be bought online for £4.99

Sarah J

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Online pharmacy Chemist 4 U has revealed they will be selling the morning after pill to women for just £4.99 per pack.

Initially, the online-only pharmacy was praised for making the morning after pill more accessible for women at an affordable price but some have criticised the move.

Women will be able to buy as many as three packs of Levonelle, a generic version of the pill, from the online pharmacy in six months.

Campaigners on reproductive ethics have been quick to condemn the initiative, explaining that the accessibility presents the morning-after pill as regular contraception, when professional advice is to only use it in emergencies.

Shamir Patel, Managing Director of Chemist 4 U, told The Independent;

“We always advise women in an emergency situation, to go to their nearest pharmacy that day, rather than waiting a day to receive it from an online pharmacy.

“However our belief is, an advanced supply from us avoids the panic in the unlikely event of barrier method failure. We advise all patients that EHC should not be used as a regular contraceptive method”.

Other retailers such as Boots and Superdrug have recently drastically reduced the cost of the morning after pill following calls from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

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Primary Care

May set to end public sector pay cap

Sarah J

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Reports indicate that Theresa May and Phillip Hammond are drawing up plans to remove the public sector pay cap.

Experts say that Theresa May is drawing up plans to end the seven-year cap on public sector pay, which currently restricts annual public sector pay increases to 1 per cent. It is thought mounting from public sector unions and finally contributed towards this change in policy.

Despite voting against the removal of the pay cap earlier this year, several senior ministers, including Boris Johnson Michael Fallon are in reportedly in support of dropping the unpopular policy.

The announcement is expected to take place when Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, sends guidance letters to the pay review bodies, including the NHSPRB, later this month.

Removal of the pay cap for all 5 million public sector employees would cost an estimated £4 billion a year.

A Downing Street spokesperson said;

“We are listening.

“We know that many people in the public and private sector feel they are just about managing.”

Many claim removal of the pay cap will help with staff shortages in certain areas, such as nursing, teaching and the senior civil service.

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