• 27 September 2019
  • 2 min read

Ministers considering financial support for student nurses

  • Nurses.co.uk News
    Editorial and news team

According to a report in The Guardian, the Government is looking at reintroducing financial assistance to help plug the huge hole in nursing staffing numbers.

Since George Osborne scrapped the bursary for student nurses in 2015 the number of people applying for nursing degrees has fallen by 10,000 a year.

Meanwhile, due to fewer qualified nurses entering the profession and other issues such as Brexit, the number of available nursing vacancies has risen to 40,000.

Our own survey of almost 600 nurses showed that 95% of nursing staff have been impacted by severely low staffing numbers, and said the crisis is putting patient safety at risk.

According to the report by The Guardian’s Health editor, Denis Campbell, DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) staff have been looking at options such supporting student nurses financially again with living grants of around £3000.

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This would certainly be approved by those who took part in our survey which showed the key to unlocking the staffing crisis is to offer a bursary again to student nurses.

Another option put forward would be to right off the debts of those who have studied and trained to become a nurse, although this is seen as a very expensive option.

Any incentives are thought to be targeted to certain groups such as mature students or those wishing to enter Mental Health Nursing and Learning Disability Nursing.

These two branches of nursing have been particularly impacted by the falling numbers of qualified nurses entering the profession. Mental Health Nursing has seen a 10.6% drop in staff numbers in 10 years.

Related stories

• 95% of Nurses say patient health is at risk due to NHS staff shortages

• The number of mental health nurses has dropped by 10.6% in 10 years

• Bursary is the key to solving the staffing crisis, according to our survey

• Cancer patients losing out due to nursing staff shortage

• No-deal Brexit could exacerbate NHS staffing crisis, health think tanks claim

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