The government’s plans to scrap NHS bursaries will leave student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals with over £52,000 worth of debt. The fear of debt will discourage many people from becoming healthcare professionals, exacerbating the current recruitment crisis. This will have disastrous repercussions for patient safety.
UNISON and the NUS have commissioned a report by London Economics which shows that removing the bursary will:
- Put thousands of healthcare students and graduates into debt.
- Reduce the number of people taking up healthcare places in higher education by as many as 2000.
- Cause a fall in income for Higher education institutions of between £55m to £77m per student intake.
- Lead to a significant increase in staff shortages in the NHS which will increase dependancy on agency and overseas staff. The costs associated with this could wipe out all the potential savings the government claims removing the bursary will make.
The full report is available here