Today the Labour Party are bringing the vital issue of NHS bursaries back to the House of Commons by holding an opposition day debate.
Nurses, midwives and allied health professionals make an immense contribution to our NHS and our country as a whole – and yet the government plans to remove the NHS bursary, making it harder for the health workers of the future to receive the training they need, and harder for our health service to recruit much needed nurses and other health staff to care for us.
The government should be busting a gut to recruit more student nurses. And yet this governments desperate perseverance with austerity means that the future of the nursing profession, nurses livelihoods and the National Health Service have all been placed in jeaopardy.
In total the government will save just under £52 million by cutting the NHS bursary out of a total NHS budget of one hundred and sixteen point five billion. Not even a million pounds a week to support our vital student nurses is safe from the axe man.
And whilst this only hits England so far, it could have a knock on effect for NHS funding in Scotland and Wales too.
UNISON believes this is a foolish plan – and that’s why we’re asking the government to pause before they make a serious error. We need to find a way to address the funding crisis facing students in the NHS – but not by plunging those same students into debt, and putting the future of our health service on the line.