On 4th June 2016, hundreds of nurses and midwives marched through London in protest, calling for a rethink of government plans to scrap maintenance bursaries for students in England.

Bursaries are a means-tested allowance paid to those healthcare students who qualify, to help with living expenses during their training.

The plans to replace maintenance bursaries with loans were outlined by Chancellor George Osborne, as part of the government’s Spending Review in November 2015.

The Treasury says abolishing the grants or bursaries, will allow many more nurses to be trained and enter the workforce.

However, a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey claims two-thirds of nurses would not have studied to join the profession if they had been unable to receive a bursary and had to take out a full loan instead.

Campaigners against the removal of the bursaries have calculated that, without bursaries, childcare or travel expenses, and with tuition fees and loans, nurses and midwives will accrue debts of around £60,000 over the span of their three year course.

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: “The message from nurses is loud and clear: these proposals would reduce the supply of nursing staff and damage patient care.”

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