Burnham announces housing and guaranteed employment scheme for nursing graduates

Nursing graduates in Greater Manchester will be guaranteed work in one of the region’s healthcare providers and potential accessibility to housing in the area, Andy Burnham has announced today.

Speaking to crowds at the NHS Providers conference in Manchester yesterday, the Greater Manchester mayor announced that all nursing students who have completed their studies at one of the region’s four universities — the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, and the University of Bolton — will be guaranteed a job at an NHS healthcare provider in the region.

Nursing numbers are one of the most pressing issues facing the NHS today: after the nursing bursary was scrapped at the end of last year, NHS Improvement’s latest report found that the number of vacancies has risen by almost 10% in the first quarter of this year and is expected to continue rising, with experts warning that “widespread and growing nursing shortages now risk becoming a national emergency.”

The Greater Manchester mayor said the removal of the nursing bursary came at “precisely the wrong time,” and has created a risk that the city will not attract people into training in the same numbers.

“Today I can announce the first phase of a new package of support, the guaranteed employment scheme,” Burnham revealed. “The scheme will guarantee a job in the Greater Manchester NHS for all student nurses at our four universities on successful completion of their studies.

“It is backed by all of GM’s NHS providers and universities. We will move quickly to put this in place for people who completed their course in early 2019. The scheme will give people more confidence to begin their training and, we hope, an incentive to do it here in GM at one of our four universities.”

He added: “Workforce reform is needed if we are to bring people within this model to make it work. And we need to be ready to deal with the shortages to the NHS workforce that Brexit may bring. To facilitate integration, we have already made it easier for our workforce to move between public sector organisations without continuous service commitment.”

Burnham added that a first-of-its-kind housing development exclusively for clinical staff will open later this month in Salford, as part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s bid to make it easier for student nurses access affordable housing and travel.

Interestingly, the GM mayor said that there “may be a case” for the repayment of tuition fees for students if they commit to working in Greater Manchester for five years after qualification.

“What all of this is intended to do is set a clear and positive message to young people, those growing up here and those who go further afield. Don’t just study here, build your career and life here. Work in GM, have a more rewarding career, and make a bigger difference to people’s lives,” he added.

(Top image c. Peter Byrne, PA Wire)


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