Student loan forgiveness scheme for nurses

Public polling shows support for nursing student loan forgiveness scheme as RCN calls for action at spring budget

Public polling has shown there is strong support for a student loan forgiveness scheme for nurses, along with more investment in the NHS.

Results from the YouGov survey indicate that over three-quarters (76%) of those asked believe introducing nursing student loan forgiveness would be a good idea.

This is in addition to around three in four (73%) also agreeing that it would encourage more people to join the nursing profession.

Something which is especially pertinent given the recent UCAS figures which laid bare the stark fall in nursing applications in the past two years.

In response to these statistics, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) wrote to health secretary, Victoria Atkins, calling for the removal of the financial burden of students loans past and present, as well as the reintroduction of universal living maintenance grants.

A similar letter was penned last week, this time calling on the chancellor – and former health secretary – Jeremy Hunt to use tomorrow’s budget to invest in a loan forgiveness model.

                                                                                 Video credit: RCN

General secretary and chief executive at RCN, Professor Pat Cullen, said: “A loan forgiveness scheme for nurses working in the NHS and public services can stop students being shackled with debt and help attract and retain more nurses – it has huge support among the public too.”

The YouGov polling also showed that the public would rather the chancellor prioritise investment in the NHS (62%) than focus on tax cuts (27%).

“The Chancellor has repeatedly said that he plans to deliver tax cuts in the upcoming budget, but the public don’t agree with his priorities,” added Prof Cullen.

“They want investment in the NHS above all else. That is a message that needs to be heard loud and clear before Wednesday.”

Image credit: iStock

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