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05.05.16

MPs reject e-petition to keep nursing bursaries

An e-petition calling on the government to overturn plans to end bursaries for nursing students was rejected by the House of Commons yesterday following a debate.

Heidi Alexander MP, the shadow health secretary, proposed the motion, saying that the current shortage in nurses could be attributed to the government’s decision to cut the number of nurse training commissions in 2010.

She said that student loans could not be applied to nursing students in the same way as other students because nursing students are required to work longer hours, meaning they could not do part-time work to support themselves, and include more mature students.

Alexander called the proposals “a massive gamble at a time when the NHS needs certainty”.

Ben Gummer MP, parliamentary under-secretary for health, replied that abolishing bursaries was “potentially one of the most exciting things” in this government’s NHS policy.

He said that the proposals would create 10,000 more training places and improve the quality of training and were supported by the Council of Deans of Health and Universities UK.

The petition was rejected by the House of Commons: 277 votes to 158.

It comes as Unite announced yesterday that they will join a mass lobby of Parliament on 25 May in protest at the proposals, along with the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, National Union of Students, British Dental Association and Unison.

(Image c. PA/ PA Wire/ Press Association Images, from 25 April)

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