Government reforms to higher education, which include removing the student nurse bursary, have failed, writes Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley.
Nurses, midwives, and Allied Health Professionals work long hours, often in difficult circumstances.
But rather than investing in healthcare students and protecting their bursaries – which help with living costs and tuition fees – the Government is instead asking student nurses to pay to train.
The Department for Education’s impact analysis has found that women, BAME, and mature students are most likely to be affected by the decision to scrap the bursary.
UCAS data also shows that applications for nursing degrees have fallen in each year since the bursary was scrapped.
MPs debated an Opposition motion in May calling on the Government to reverse its decision.
While I voted for the motion, the Government voted against it and it was defeated.
There are 107,000 vacancies across the NHS, including 41,000 nurses and midwives.
Yet in the Budget last month, the Chancellor ignored training budgets and failed to reinstate the nurse bursary.
There was no plan to increase NHS staffing, no plan to recruit the nurses needed for the future and no plan to transform services.
I believe that every person who wants to access higher education should be able to.
Labour has pledged to restore NHS bursaries and scrap university tuition fees.
This would have ensured enough caring and highly skilled nurses to care for patients in the future.
As NHS England prepares to publish its ten-year plan, I will press ministers to reinstate the student nurse bursary and invest in nursing higher education to ensure the NHS can recruit the workforce it needs.