Camden nurses march against bursary cuts
- Credit: Archant
Nurses training at the Royal Free Hospital joined 5,000 others in London to protest against government plans to cut training bursaries.
The student nurses marched to Downing Street on Saturday in line with demonstrations all over the country.
Danielle Tiplady, a student nurse, organised the campaign following government proposals to end training bursaries for nurses and replace them with student loans.
Her petition has gathered the support of more than 150,000 people and sparked demonstrations across the country.
She said: “I absolutely love the NHS and it really concerns me who is going to look after the patients in the future because so many people are being put off by these plans.
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“Nurses work in terrible conditions and they are staffed to the bare minimum so many get burnt out and quit.”
Student nurses in London currently receive a bursary of £542 per month and work 2,300 unpaid hours throughout their three-year study programme.
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The Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) campaign described the proposals as “attacks” and argues that, despite the current bursary, 85 per cent of student nurses currently have part-time jobs to avoid falling into debt.
Tony Marshall, from the Camden branch of KONP, said: “One of the problems hospitals are having to deal with is that there are just not enough nurses so they have to employ agency staff which are very expensive.”
The Department of Health has argued that currently two thirds of nursing applicants are rejected because there is not enough funding.
A spokesperson said: “Our plans mean up to 10,000 more training places by the end of this parliament, with student nurses getting around 25 per cent more financial support whilst they study.
“We need more home-grown nurses in the NHS because they do an amazing job caring for patients.”
Ms Tiplady agreed that there is a shortage of nurses in London, but thinks that more funding is needed to provide effective training.
She said: “Student programmes are already overcrowded and there is no capacity for more students so I do not know where they will find the 10,000 extra training spaces they are promising.
“The government needs to address the way that nurses are treated. This is so important because student doctors and nurses fill in the gaps in the NHS.”
The petition is being discussed in parliament today.