Published: Mon, June 20, 2016
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Student nurses: Plan to scrap bursaries criticised

Student nurses: Plan to scrap bursaries criticised

Ms Sturgeon will outline proposals for new legislation to reinforce patient safety when she addresses the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) congress in Glasgow on Monday.

"Cuts to funding for student nurses when Nicola Sturgeon was health minister are also having an impact on our NHS today".

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We need more homegrown nurses in the NHS because they do a fantastic job caring for patients, but now two-thirds of people who apply to become a nurse aren't accepted for training".

"The RCN's major worry is that efforts to tackle the issues and to help people live healthier lives are in danger of going backwards because of aggressive public health funding cuts".

Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN, said: "There are huge variations in care across the country and far too many vulnerable children are not getting the support they need".

"School nurses have the skills and the experience to provide a wide range of mental health support, from counseling to promoting healthy lifestyles".

"It's just not realistic to think that health boards can deliver the same services to more and more people and achieve the ongoing efficiency savings demanded by government".


The weeklong congress will allow nurses to share best practice, take part in training sessions and create an overall picture of the current state of the NHS.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "NHS staff are our greatest asset - that's why there are already 10,800 more nurses on our wards since 2010, as well as 50,000 nurses in training for the future. The NHS is busy, but performing well - with 1.6 million more operations taking place each year compared to 2010".

Scottish Labour health spokesperson Anas Sarwar lent his support for the plans in principle, but went on the attack the SNP's record on NHS resourcing: "This is a worthwhile commitment that we would support, but it has to be backed up by adequate funding so it can actually be delivered".

More than 20 groups led by the Royal College of Nursing said it could put people off working for the NHS.

Its poll of school nurses found many felt their workload was too heavy and 28 percent work more than their contracted hours every single day.

More than a third (39%) said they had insufficient resources to do their jobs effectively.

The letter says: "These plans are a short-sighted attempt to solve a long-term and complicated problem.



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