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DoH Confirms Student Nurses WILL Lose Their Bursaries

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The Department of Health have today ended the consultation on NHS Bursaries and confirmed that they are set to be withdrawn. 

Following the consultation on reforms to the education funding for nursing, midwifery and allied health professional (AHP) students, the government has set out its plans withdraw the current bursary model and move towards student loans.

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The news, posted on the Department of Health website, sets out it’s clear plan to change from the current funding system and bring student healthcare professionals in line with other students despite the course structures being very different.

There is however an opportunity for additional funding. The government is planning the following action to support nursing, midwifery and AHP students complete their courses and enter the future health workforce:

  • support for childcare costs – there will be an additional payment of £1,000 each year for students with child dependents to reflect that students undertaking clinical placements may have higher childcare costs than the wider student population
  • travel and dual accommodation – we will provide healthcare students the £303 that they would have to pay upfront as an excess liable for student payment on the student loans system. The government will cover the cost of students who have to pay for secondary accommodation whilst attending clinical placements if the case for educational provision and value for money is demonstrated
  • postgraduate students – a bursary for tuition and maintenance will meet the full costs of the course for postgraduate students starting in 2017/18. This will be a transitional arrangement to secure the longer term workforce supply and the intention is for these courses to eventually fit the standard student funding model
  • exceptional hardship – we will work with experts such as the RCN to provide bursary payments in cases of exceptional hardship, where students meet eligibility requirements
  • dental hygiene and dental therapy – until a long-term funding solution is found for these subjects, the government will fund a capped number of dental hygiene and dental therapy students on the 2017/18 cohort on the same, non-repayable terms as under the current system
  • second undergraduate degrees – students who are planning to undertake nursing, midwifery and allied health professional subjects as a second degree will be able to access the standard student support system, on the same terms as students studying for a first degree.

We’ve put together an article listing the MYTHS and TRUTHS around the transition between NHS Student Bursaries and Student Loans.

Health minister Philip Dunne said:

“Currently two thirds of people who apply to university to become a nurse are not offered a place – we are committed to plans which could create up to 10,000 training places for home-grown nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by the end of this parliament, with those in training getting around 25% more financial support while they study.

We’ve listened to feedback from the consultation and as a result will provide extra funding to help cover additional expenses like travel and more support for students with children. We will work with the RCN, hospitals and other partners in taking this forward.”

You can read the full consultation document here.

Workforce

Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

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Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

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Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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Workforce

NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

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Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

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With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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