UNISON survey shows scrapping of student nurse bursaries will lead to major shortages

A UNISON survey shows that nine in ten (91 per cent) student nurses would not have applied for the nursing degree without access to the bursary which the government intends to scrap in 2017.

This week’s spending review said that next September will be the last year of the bursary that enables around 15,000 students to study to become nurses.

The UNISON survey – of 2,000 student nurses – also shows 90 per cent of respondents were in receipt of an NHS bursary. The union is also concerned over plans to introduce a new potentially costly system that means newly qualified nurses will end up earning just £22,000 but willhave debts of more than £50,000.

There are also serious questions over who will pay for the clinical placements that nurses are required to do for pass their training, says UNISON.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “This NHS has already a shortage of nurses so making it more expensive and difficult to train new ones makes no sense whatsoever. The government is being less than honest about these changes.

“New nurses will now have to take a loan to live on, a second for their tuition fees and potentially a third to pay fortheir compulsory placements in clinical settings.

“Half all student nurses already have children or other caring responsibilities, and hardly any will have spare cash to pay for what looks set up to be a course with exorbitant costs to do a job thatpays very little.

“It is difficult to imagine who and why anyone would want to train as a nurse under those circumstances. George Osborne’s plan is likely to have serious consequences for the number of nurses in this country.”

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UNISON media contacts:
Fatima Ayad T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk