The other NHS strike – why bursaries for student nurses matter

While attention has largely been focused on the series of industrial actions planned by Junior Doctors, they are not the only NHS workers threatened by proposed government reforms. Mario A, a student nurse, explains why he and his colleagues are planning a walkout, and what it means for the future of the NHS.

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The date of 10 February 2016 has had much media coverage recently, as it is the Junior Doctors’ next planned day of action in relation to their contracts. But is this all that is happening that day?

Regardless of whether the Junior Doctor strike goes ahead, student nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, and other healthcare students are planning a walkout. This will show support for the Junior Doctors and solidarity for the NHS.

However, it is also an important action in its own right. There is increasing frustration from these future NHS-workers that the Government intends on scrapping a form of funding for next generation of students. With the removal of this monthly instalment and  its replacement by the loan system, students will be expected to pay up to £50,000 to study. The bursary is currently given to help those who have to work 37.5 hour weeks whilst on hospital placements.

Implementation of these Tory ideas will have a crippling effect on the diversity and number of students able to study these professions. This is due to students not having the time or energy to have a part-time job on top of the hands-on experience required to learn the skills to qualify.

As a result students across the country plan to walk out of their work placements on 10 February, from 10am-11am, and join the pickets with the Junior Doctors. Others plan to go around the hospital to inform people about the Save the NHS Bursary movement and what this means for the future of healthcare.

Students who are keen to show support are encouraged to discuss their options with their placement mentors. Having a supernumerary status whilst on placement means that this walkout is not industrial action like the Junior Doctors; however, it is a vital chance to show support for protection of the future of the NHS.

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