As MP for Manchester Withington, my constituency is home to many of the 2000+ students at the Manchester School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. They are the students who will care for our families and friends in the years to come so ensuring that these courses are accessible and affordable is vital.
At the moment, healthcare students receive an NHS Bursary which covers their tuition, clinical placements and contributes towards their living costs. The Government want to replace that bursary with a loan, repayable upon graduating, leaving these students with over £50,000 worth of debt.
Qualifying to be a nurse or a midwife is different to studying a normal degree. Students can spend up to 48 weeks in a year on clinical placement and are often older students who care for children or elderly relatives. Where other students may subsidise their university expenses with a part-time job, healthcare students simply don’t have the time.
In opposing these changes, I’m joining the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, UNISON and the National Union of Students who have all called on the Government to change course in recent months. They are all agreed that these proposals will deter the nurses and midwives of the future and it’s patients that will pay the price.
Earlier this year, I spoke in the Opposition Day Debate on the NHS Bursary in Parliament. Read my full speech here.
6 June 2016