Ellesmere Port & Neston MP and Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders slammed Government plans to scrap the bursary for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in a parliamentary debate.
Under the Government plan, which has been put out to consultation, bursaries will be replaced with Student Loans, meaning that if the plan is implemented, new nurses and midwives will begin their careers with between £50,000 and £60,000 of debt. Mature students who take up nursing as a second degree will graduate over £100,000 in debt.
Closing the debate on behalf of the Opposition from the Front Bench, Justin described the plan as “one of the biggest ever gambles with the future of the NHS workforce and with patient safety.” He condemned the Secretary of State for failing to consult with the Royal Collages before bringing forward the plans and raised concerns that the proposal could put off the nurses, midwives and allied health professionals of the future.
He also pointed out that the Government’s decision to cut the number of nurse training places from 20,000 to 17,000 after taking office led to 8,000 fewer nurses being trained than if it had maintained the levels set by the last Labour Government.
Speaking after the debate, Justin said:
“In just two sentences of the Autumn Statement, the Government committed itself to scrap bursaries and effectively force nursing, midwifery and allied health students to pay for the privilege of working.
This plan has been put together with no consultation, scant evidence and without the involvements of the Royal Collages, or representatives of the nursing profession.
I am deeply concerned that this reckless plan will cause the next generation of health workers to think again about entering the profession and could exacerbate the already serious shortage of nurses and midwives.”
To watch Justin’s speech, click here: http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/ea59a182-6f5e-4d26-995b-ae992bdf671d?in=16%3A02%3A48&out=16%3A14%3A07