Health staff rally over bursary cuts as poll finds two-thirds of nurses would be priced out...
HEALTH workers will take to the streets in defence of NHS bursaries today as new figures reveal how two-thirds of nurses would not have gone into the profession without them.
A survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has lead to further worries that Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to cut the under-£5,000 personal stipend would lead to even greater NHS staff losses.
The news comes on the day thousands are expected to march on Westminster against the proposed cut under the banner Bursary or Bust.
Campaign founder Danielle Tiplady told the Star that if the government “refuse to listen to this, it shows their true intentions.
“These cuts are going to destroy the NHS.”
RCN’s new study also found that nearly 90 per cent of the over 17,000 practicing nurses quizzed strongly disagreed with the government’s proposals.
A further 79 per cent believed the cut would hurt patients.
Nursing educators were also against the policy, with four in five arguing against the cuts.
Union general secretary Janet Davies said: “The message from nurses is loud and clear — these proposals would reduce the supply of nursing staff and damage patient care.
“These proposals represent a huge gamble with the future of the nursing workforce and the government has not properly evaluated the many risks involved.
“Every extra training place needs a number of high-quality clinical placements to give the student practical experience.
“The government has not explained how these extra placements will be funded, and nurses are clearly saying that without extra funding the quality of mentoring will suffer.”Speaking ahead of today’s protest, Ms Davies added: “Nursing staff have shown how passionate they are about the future of the workforce, and thousands of RCN members have spoken out against these damaging plans.
“The government must listen to these concerns and work with the RCN and others to identify a fair, effective and sustainable funding system for nursing education.”
According to RCN nearly all polled nursing staff believe that registered nurses already lack the capacity to mentor more students.
A study published last week by London Economics revealed how bursary cuts would lead to nursing and midwifery courses losing nearly 2,000 students a year.
The consultancy group estimated that the decline in NHS staff would then cost a future British government more than £100 million per cohort.
Bursary or Bust argued the loan system proposed by Mr Osborne to replace the bursaries “is an attempt at breaking the tie between students and the NHS to pave the way for the complete dismantling of the health service in order to privatise and profit.”
Their rally outside the Department of Health (DoH) later today will be attended by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood as well as junior doctors Dr Aislinn Mcklin-Dougherty and Dr Lauren Gavaghan.