Healthworkers Lobby Parliament over plans to scrap the NHS Bursary

Members of UNISON Pennine Acute Health branch travelled to Westminster on Wednesday to lobby their MPs with concerns over government plans to scrap the NHS Bursary. Current NHS staff and students attended the lobby, organised jointly with the British Dental Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, the National Union of Students and UNISON.

From August 2017 health students will be faced with a £52,000 graduation debt. Unlike other students they will not be able to take on part-time work to financially assist them, as they are required to work unpaid for the NHS whilst studying. Health students are also more likely to have family commitments, as many are than older other university students.

Jean O’Donnell, Nurse and UNISON Branch Secretary said “The bursary helps people from all walks of life commit to training in roles essential to the running of the NHS. Removing it is not only an attack on those who may wish to train in the future, but it also puts the service itself at risk. We need trained nurses”. A request to meet with her constituency MP David Nuttall was declined. “This isn’t the first time Mr Nuttall has refused to meet me. He won’t meet me in Parliament and my attempts to catch him in Bury have been ignored by his office”

Stephen Moran, UNISON Branch Treasurer, also at the lobby said “These proposals will see an increased reliance on expensive agency workers, as would-be health students consider other career options” adding “which means more qualified overseas staff having to plug the gap. This neither helps the countries that trained them in the first place, or those at home who would have otherwise considered a career in the health service. It’s Lose- Lose.

Gerald Kaufman, MP for Manchester Gorton met with the branch, and he offered his backing. Other local MP’s, Ivan Lewis, and Liz McInnes, continue to be supportive.

Jeremy Corbyn held an impromptu meeting and offered his support to the campaign against the NHS Bursary cut. “Consider me lobbied. You already have my full support” said the Labour Leader as he arrived at Parliament and greeted students and health workers.



UNISON will contune to campaign against the scrapping of the NHS Bursary.

Date Online: 26/05/2016

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