Student nurses and midwives joined a rally against Government plans to scrap NHS Student Bursaries yesterday, led by De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU).
46 De Montfort University (DMU) students were joined by DSU’s VP Student Activities and incoming President Dan Winney and DP Education Amie Chapman on the trip to Westminster where they spoke to various National Union of Students (NUS) delegates and MPs including Labour’s Jon Ashworth.
Dan said: “With a large cohort of DMU students being affected, it is vital that we as a students’ union stand up to this and support our members.
“So today we join the campaign to save NHS Student Bursaries with the government announcing plans to scrap these from 2017.
“We have put on free travel to London in order to speak with MPs and lobby the government to drop its plans and consider other options for increasing training places and financial support for these students.”
Student nurses and midwives will be affected by the plans. They are currently entitled to bursaries of up to £5,500 – on top of a grant of £1,000 each year during their course. Course fees are also covered.
But the government has proposed scrapping these and introducing university fees to bring health staff in line with other students.
Ministers argue that the move will lead to an increase in nurse students – of about 10,000 – as applicants for courses currently outnumber the places available by two to one. But lobbying groups argue that it is unfair to expect this of prospective nurses and midwives.
Dan continued: “It is absolutely essential that these students are supported – they are the future of the NHS. But these plans will put people off wanting to join the profession.
“Student nurses are required to work 2,300 practise hours during their degree, including early, late night and weekend shifts without pay and these cuts are just another kick in the teeth for them.
“It’s punishing those who genuinely care about being part of a healthcare service.
“I’m very excited to hear the opinions of MPs on this issue and stand together with student nurses and midwifery students, some of whom have travelled to London from across the country to get their voice heard.”
To find out more about how DSU represent DMU students, click here.