Government to press on with decision to land student nurses with debts of more than £50,000

Responding to the announcement today (Thursday) that the government is to plough ahead with scrapping nursing bursaries and replacing them with loans and fees, UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said:

“It was clear from the start that this consultation was a sham. Ministers have simply not listened. They seem not to care that in a few years time the NHS will be seriously short of nurses, and there will be too few new recruits coming through to fill the gaps.

“That’s because the prospect of graduating with more than £50,000 of debt will discourage many from entering the profession at a time when the NHS is struggling to fill vacancies.

“Nurses differ from other graduates in that they spend much of their degree courses working alongside paid colleagues and are also unlikely to earn enough to ever pay off their student debt.

“This short sighted decision is likely to mean 2,000 fewer graduates a year. To make up for the shortfall, the NHS will have to spend much more on agency staff, costing hospital trusts dearly.”

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Anthony Barnes T: 0207 121 5255 M: 07834 864794 E: