Defend our bursaries!

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Nurses and midwives assemble for their rally and lobby of parliament yesterday
Nurses and midwives assemble for their rally and lobby of parliament yesterday

STUDENT nurses, midwives and other NHS students lobbied parliament yesterday to demand that the Tories’ plan to abolish the student bursary and replace it with a loans system does not go ahead.

The government are in the process of a three month consultation over the issue, and students lobbied their MPs to demand that their bursaries are not taken away. At Westminster Hall, where students were gathering, students spoke out about their determination to fight this government’s attack on the NHS.

Student nurse Josie Chubb told News Line: ‘We need to beat the government over this. If the government do not restore the student bursary then we will be forced to take further action. We are defending the whole future of our profession.

‘I went on all of the junior doctors marches and made a placard which read: “Student nurses support junior doctors!” Most of the people on my course would not be there without the bursary. We do not have time to work while we are studying. We have clinical practice to do, so a part-time job is not an option. That is why we rely on the bursary.

‘If they take the bursary away, then they also take away the restrictions on working so students will be working part-time jobs and doing clinical practice. They will be so tired that they will make mistakes and put patient safety at risk.

‘The hospital that I do most of my clinical placement at is the Lister in Stevenage. It is so busy because they closed down the A&E at the QEII in Welling Garden City a few years ago. Our A&E at the Lister is so packed that we had to close the doors three times and tell patients to come back tomorrow. The whole A&E was full! They said terrible things about us in the press, but it was not our fault, they have closed the only other A&E in the area.’