Nurses Marching Today

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Student nurses demonstrating to save their bursaries – NHS students march to parliament today
Student nurses demonstrating to save their bursaries – NHS students march to parliament today

A SURVEY of over 17,000 nursing staff has raised concerns that government plans to scrap student nurse bursaries will lead to even greater staff shortages in the NHS.

Members of the RCN and other unions will march from St Thomas’ Hospital to Downing Street at 1pm today to protest against the plans. The RCN said: ‘Two-thirds of nurses said they would not have studied nursing if they’d had to take out a full student loan and pay fees, suggesting that the government’s proposals will put off thousands of potential nurses at a time when more are needed than ever.

‘RCN members are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposals. 89% of respondents either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the government’s plans, and 79% believe the changes will have a negative impact on patient care. Worryingly, the government’s proposals do not have the backing of nurse educators, 80% of whom disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposals.

‘The government hopes that the new plans will allow for a big increase in the number of student training places, but has not allocated any funding for the extra clinical placements and mentors at hospitals that would be needed.

‘81% of nursing staff said they did not believe that registered nurses currently have the capacity to mentor more students. The RCN opposes the high-risk proposals and is calling for the government to pause and properly evaluate the evidence.’

Janet Davies, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN 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.

‘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.’