Today marked the end of NHS bursaries for new nursing, midwifery and healthcare students in England.
As from today, new nursing, midwifery and other health students such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists will no longer receive NHS bursaries to cover their tuition fees and living costs.
Instead, the trainee healthcare professionals will be reliant on student loans and face leaving university with upward of £50,000 of debt despite on-going pay restraint.
The department of health says ending the bursaries will free up £800m a year to help create additional nursing roles.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, this week announced 21,000 new posts to improve mental health services but with over 11,000 nursing vacancies and training figures at an all time low the Royal College of Nursing has criticised this plan.
Student healthcare professionals in Wales will continue to receive NHS bursaries on the condition they commit to working in the country after qualifying.