Marches are taking place across the country in protest of the Government’s plans to cut student bursaries, which was announced in November.

London: Protest against austerity in Summer 2015. Image by Benas Gerdziunas.
London: Protest against austerity in Summer 2015. Image by Benas Gerdziunas.

The Chancellor George Osborne is considering cutting the bursaries for nursing students in the UK and replacing them with loans. The cut will affect students who begin their studies in September 2017, meaning they will have to take out repayable loans to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Thousands of student nurses come to Bristol every year to study courses in nursing and midwifery at UWE Bristol and for student placements at University Hospitals Bristol NHS. Michelle, a second year adult nursing student at the Glenside campus at UWE Bristol, said: “For me, I wouldn’t be able to do the course. Some students wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

“I don’t think anyone is in denial that the government has to make money somewhere. With so many student nurses, it’s not very forward thinking. A lot of nursing students are mature students and they have families, mortgages and other commitments.” The Royal College of Nursing, the union for nurses and health care assistants, are concerned that the cut will deter prospective students from studying in the field.

1,441 nursing students are enrolled at Glenside campus in Fishponds. Image by Richard Peake.
1,441 nursing students are enrolled at Glenside campus in Fishponds. Image by Richard Peake.

RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, Janet Davies said: “Student nurses and midwives are the profession’s future and their voices and concerns must, and should be listened to.” She added: “The future of nursing must be protected. Our patients deserve nothing less.”

By Summer Brooks