“The budget review has come out and as you may have seen bursaries for students hoping to train to be nurses or midwives has been abolished and are to be replaced with standard tuition fees and loans.
Yesterday, while I was working to subsidise my nurse education may I add, I was outraged and also sad. I feel sad that nurses aren’t valued by the government. I feel sad that me and my amazing student nurse friends are entering a profession that is just about keeping it’s head above the water. As a newly qualified nurse, the minimum wage is 21k plus unsocial hours (another thing the government want to take away from us) I don’t think there’s any point in talking about how dedicated and how hard we work as students because it should go without saying. Anyone who trains to be a nurse isn’t doing it for the money or the accolade but are doing it because they care about looking after people.
The profession has progressed loads education wise with nurses taking on lots of responsibilities and operating equipment and technology which keeps people living. Hospitals with a majority of university educated nurses are more likely to have better mortality rates because we are taught extensive skills in identifying deteriorating patients and in doing so can better assist our doctor colleagues.
The idea that cutting the bursary will encourage 10,000 more prospective students into nursing is quite frankly ludicrous. In a few years time (and this is a known issue) many nurses will be retiring and there will therefore be a deficit anyway. As is well covered in the news, wards are full to bursting and staffing levels are dangerous. You may think we are simply moaning about cuts to bursaries but it goes deeper than that – this move is dangerous and more people will die as a result. This government doesn’t care about its people, they are trying to spin that the NHS doesn’t function 24/7, that we kill people more at the weekend and that maternity services are unsatisfactory. Yet, who are the ones cutting essential essential health and social care services, pushing junior doctor contracts and getting rid of education funding for nurses and midwives and telling us this is good? It is an insult.”
I posted this on social media yesterday not knowing everything there is to know about the cuts to the NHS bursary for students. My little rant focuses on nursing because I am a student nurse. However the bursary cuts will affect nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, podiatrists, ODP’s…..the list goes on. The long term effects of this is what is truly worrying.
Before I began my foray into the world of nursing, I worked with children and young people with disabilities and mainly children with autism and challenging behaviour. The effects of the cuts to speech and language services, lack of specialist school places, inability to obtain a statement of special educational need and not getting any form of respite at all, all contributed to breakdown of families and failure to meet the needs of the child or children in the family. This was only 4 years ago and things have only got worse and will now get worse with the short-termist changes that the government are making.
Back to the subject at hand…bursaries being replaced with loans will not encourage people to train in these important professions. It will mean that the range of people who want to train as healthcare professionals will become rather unvaried and, unfortunately, will be only for people who can pay. It seems pretty silly to be charging fees and using loans for professions who have rigid pay scales and therefore will not be able to actually pay it back in their lifetime. (111 years has been the figure bandied around).
Not only does it mean that us, the people from all different backgrounds who want a career within the NHS/healthcare are penalised, but it also means that those who need these services are the ones who will be suffering the most. Just like the junior doctors reiterated time and time again – it isn’t about the money, it’s about the patients. Not having enough healthcare professionals causes children and adults to suffer, and in the worst case scenario, even die. It sounds dramatic but it is true.
Yes I feel sad that I am going into a profession that is at breaking point, that is the backbone of the NHS and running on goodwill but I am even sadder for the people who rely on these services to support them in their lives. Life is already hard for these people (it will be people on the poverty line who will feel this the most) so it breaks my heart to know that things are going to get worse for them and that I feel powerless to do anything more than I already am to help them.
I will be marching on Wednesday 2nd December in London. I urge anyone who can to please attend. It would be great to get more protests going around the UK – let’s unite and save our NHS. Don’t let the government divide and conquer.
If you can’t make it in person, go here and post your selfie: