Prestigious Nursing Magazines Join Bursary Fight

Three of the leading nursing magazines in Britain have joined forces to condemn the plans of the government to scrap bursaries for nursing students.

Nursing in Practice, Nursing Times and Nursing Standard have collaborated in penning an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.

The three publications believe that the incumbent prime minister must reconsider the decision to force nursing students to take out loans in order to cover the cost of their study.

David Cameron’s government had previously floated the idea of removing the Health Education England bursary for pre-registration nursing students.

This was intended to ensure that the funding between nursing and medical students was equalised.

In urging May to address the issue, the letter notes that May had pledged in her very first speech as Prime Minister “to establish a fairer country that works for everyone and not just the ‘privileged few’”.

Of course, some may be sceptical about the legitimacy and sincerity of this particular claim.

Nursing students would be forced in many cases to accrue £50,000 of debt after leaving university, while being presented with an annual salary of £22,000 in the early years of nursing careers, should the scrapping of bursaries go ahead.

The letter comments that the scrapping of bursaries will be particularly disadvantageous to those from poorer backgrounds.

“Saddling graduate nurses with university debt will badly affect the number of students who wish to take up this vocation. Students with children will be disproportionately affected as will those from less privileged backgrounds.”

And concludes that the NHS “will no longer have a nursing profession that reflects the patients they serve.”

Angela Sharda, deputy editor of Nursing in Practice, outlined the reasons for writing the letter, suggesting that the decision will have a profound influence on the NHS, and not just the career plans of some nurses.

“In this letter, we have tried to explain why scrapping bursaries is a bad idea and what effect the decision will have on nurses. The nursing workforce is an important part of our NHS and it is a real shame that nursing bursaries have been cut – it will leave a negative impact on the industry. The decision to leave the EU has left uncertainty on the future of our NHS, but removing nurses’ bursaries will have a major impact on nurses financially.”

Sharda also pointed out that the three publications are usually in competition, thus underling the profundity of this action.

“Usually, we stand as three rival publications but in this instance we have decided to stand together and address the matter to the Prime Minister. We hope that we will get a chance to speak with Theresa May to revaluate the Government’s decision on cutting bursaries.”

Nursing remains a cornerstone of the NHS, and indeed always will be, and it is clear that the bursary plans of the government will have a massive impact on the publicly-funded healthcare system.


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