Today George Osborne managed to slip into his Spending Review the scrapping of NHS student nurse bursaries, which are to be replaced with student loans. In an attempt to make this sound like he was doing nursing a favour, Osborne claimed this would create more places for student nurses as they are currently capped as a consequence of the NHS bursary.
George Osbornes and the Conservative government’s actions today are beyond insulting. As a student nurse I have already felt the struggle of surviving off of the limited means we get. However I am more than grateful for the bursary I currently receive.
My degree is split 50/50, half in the classroom and with 50% of my time spent working in a London hospital to learn the practical side of being a nurse. Every day within these placements I work as part of the team. From helping patients wash and dress, emptying bed pans, comforting families when their loved one is sick and being an advocate for patients, assisting in emergencies, I put one hundred percent into being part of this team and so does every other student nurse in the UK within their placements.
So to hear today that the government are going to make people pay in student loans of over £50,000 to become a nurse - to go into a job where pay increases are capped at 1% for the next 4 years, which is under inflation so in real terms nurses are being given a pay cut. Today's cuts to our bursaries means we will lose even more of our pay as we will have to pay back what we owe from these huge loans. This is infuriating and demeaning.
Being from a poor background myself all that has enabled me to go to university is the bursary and help with tuition fees. Loans scare me and I know they scare others. Already today I have heard from others who wanted to be a nurse, but at hearing this news have changed their minds because they simply cannot live with being saddled with that amount of debt. So this idea it will increase the number of student nurses is a complete myth.
Not only does this news today affect student nurses, it affects all of our colleagues, our patients and our beloved NHS which sadly the Tories will not stop until they have destroyed it to it’s core!