Scrapping NHS bursaries will cause NHS workforce crisis says Unite

Unite, the UK’s biggest union, is today (Wednesday 4 May) calling on the government to scrap plans to replace NHS bursaries with loans amid warnings that it will cause a workforce crisis and turmoil within the NHS.

Labour MPs will debate the Tories’ proposed plan to replace NHS bursaries with loans from August 2017 making courses like nursing, speech and language therapy and midwifery fee paying.

This will leave students with more than £50,000 worth of debt if they undertake a three year degree, which Unite believes will deter many potential applicants from pursuing a career within the NHS.  This is despite student nurses working up to 37.5 hours a week on less than the minimum wage for half of their training, and graduate nurses starting on an average salary of less than £23,000.

Colenzo Jarret-Thorpe Unite national officer for health said:  “This is a cynical cost cutting exercise that will leave the NHS ever more reliant on costly agency staff. During the 2014-15 financial year alone, locum staff cost the NHS £3.3 billion.

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