George Osbourne has today announced that the NHS Student Bursary and tuition fee payment is to be scrapped under the latest government spending cuts.
The cuts mean that NHS funded courses such as Nursing and Midwifery will now be subject to the £9000 per year tuition fee payment that is in place for other university level courses in England.
The Council of Deans has confirmed (1) changes will not affect current students and the current system will remain in place for applicants in 2016/17 and for the duration of their training.
Changes will come into force for students starting in the academic year 2017/2018.
Osbourne’s cuts will see student nurses graduating university with a total student debt of up to £50,000 to only see an initial salary of £21,692 – a figure that has changed very little in the last 10 years.
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Scrapping the current system will however allow Universities and NHS Trusts to have more control over their admission system and bring up to 10,000 more places which could be the first move to ease the nursing staffing crisis in the UK.
Student Nurses are calling for action from the Royal College of Nurses – it is argued that the current bursary system better supports student Nurses and Midwives who spend up to 37.5 hours per week on their unpaid placement and enables students who wouldn’t otherwise be financially able to access to the course.
This change comes during a time of ongoing upset between NHS staff and the government following the announced that Junior Doctors will strike in December in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
You can sign the petition against the changes here.