Boris Johnson plans to revive bursaries of up to £8,000 a year for Student nurses
The Prime Minister is guaranteeing all student nurses will get a grant of at least £5,000 a year in an attempt to fill tens of thousands of vacancies.
Medical specialisms will be offered bursaries of up to £8,000 a year. University tuition fees will not be included.
The announcement is being made ahead of tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech which will also guarantee the NHS an extra £34billion of funding.
Mr Johnson has promised ‘an extra 50,000 nurses’ by 2024-25 – although this figure includes 19,000 who are already in post and who he hopes to persuade not to leave.
Announcing the bursaries, he said: ‘I have heard loud and clear that the priority of the British people is to focus on the NHS – and to make sure this treasured institution has everything it needs to deliver world-class care.
‘The dedicated doctors and nurses epitomise everything that makes the NHS so revered across the world – skill, compassion, energy and dedication. At the heart of our manifesto was the guarantee that we will deliver 50,000 more nurses, and this new financial support package is a crucial part of delivering this. There can be no doubting our commitment to the NHS, and over the coming months we will bring forward further proposals to transform this great country.’
The Royal College of Nursing said the announcement was an ‘important first step’ but stressed there was an urgent need to fill the tens of thousands of vacancies.
But policy experts claimed it was ‘disingenuous’ for the Tories to suggest they were reinstating the bursaries they scrapped just three and a half years ago.
Nurses will still have to pay their tuition fees which typically cost £10,000 a year with degrees normally lasting for three years. Prior to 2016, these fees were covered by the state, although ministers pointed out that future nurses could still get loans.
The bursaries will be offered to up to 35,000 nursing or midwifery students who will start their degree courses from next August.
They will receive at least £5,000-a-year but an additional £3,000 will be offered to those planning to work in ‘nursing blackspots’.
The Government is yet to confirm which parts of England have the lowest number of recruits, but the worst-affected specialisms include mental health and learning disabilities.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘The NHS is there for all of us in our time of need, thanks to the skill, dedication and compassion of its staff. I know from my grandma, who worked nights as a nurse, just how compassionate and hard- working our nurses are.