‘FOR students like me from a working class background, removing the bursary for nurses will mean that they cannot continue their studies,’ student nurse Danielle Tiplady said on Thursday evening.
She was addressing a rally of over 50 junior doctors, nurses, health workers, campaigners and supporters gathered outside the old Royal London Hospital. Already I know of student nurses who, because of the ending of the bursary, have said to me that they will now be unable to follow their dream. This is appalling.
‘To come out of university with over £100,000 worth of debt and start in a salary that has been capped at 1% rise for the next four years is a terrible situation for student nurses to be in. We cannot work while we study. We are doing 12-hour shifts. I can’t sleep after coming off a night shift. How am I meant to take a job while I study?
‘I started the call for a demonstration and it took off and got tremendous support. Now we have called for a national march on Saturday January 11 starting outside St Thomas’ Hospital at 12 noon and marching through central London. We are calling on all of you to come along and support our struggle.’
Ashlynne Lillis, a BMA member representing The National Health Singers, told the rally: ‘Our aim was to create a choir and release an NHS anthem to get the message out to the general public about the threat to the NHS. We have released a track called “Yours”.
‘We are in this struggle for our patients and for our health service. We have to fight to keep the NHS. The NHS is ours and yours.’ John McLouchlin, the Tower Hamlets Council secretary of Unison, said: ‘We will all support the junior doctors in their fight, they have given an example to us all.’