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Haverhill nurse speaks out over need for free bursaries

Latest education news from the Haverhill Echo, haverhillecho.co.uk, @haverhill on Twitter
Latest education news from the Haverhill Echo, haverhillecho.co.uk, @haverhill on Twitter

A woman from Haverhill has joined the growing chorus of voices opposed to the Government’s plans to replace free bursaries for student nurses with student loans.

Following Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement last year that bursaries for nursing students and other healthcare undergraduates would be replaced by student loans from August 2017, more than 1,300 people have contacted the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to tell their story.

Fraer, who wished for her surname to remain anonymous, of Haverhill, was among those who got in touch.

She said: “If I hadn’t had my bursary I would not have been able to carry on with my degree because having a loan would have been too much to pay back once qualified.

“I have had to work part-time alongside studying with the bursary which is hard, but without the bursary part-time work would not be enough.”

The Government says the changes, which will bring nursing students in line with arrangements for undergraduates of other university degrees, will see nursing students receive around a 25 per cent increase in the financial support available to them for living costs.

It claims the new system will ensure there are enough health professionals for the NHS while reducing the current reliance on expensive agency staff and will enable universities to provide up to 10,000 additional nursing, midwifery and allied health training places during this parliament.

Karen Webb, RCN eastern regional director, said: “Student nurses and midwives are the profession’s future and their voices and concerns must be listened to and acted on.

“The RCN is 100 years old this year. The Government should recognise out long track record in the education of nurses and listen to our concerns about their ill thought-through plans.”

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