HM Opposition motion to annul the statutory instrument which abolishes bursaries for postgraduate student nurses was defeated on 9 May 2018.

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“The Government has failed the next generation of nurses by forcing through plans to abolish bursaries for postgraduate student nurses. The vote on 9 May 2018 was lost by 234 Ayes to 295 Noes.”

“The Government attempted to subvert democracy by delaying a debate on the Opposition Labour motion praying against the statutory Instrument. I called for a debate on the motion at three successive Business Questions on 19 April, 26 April and 3 May 2018.”

“Nurses’ bursaries are important in upskilling people and dealing with the NHS skills shortage. According to official figures, 1 in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS each year. Data published by NHS Digital shows that 33,500 nurses left the service in 2016-17 – 3,000 more than joined and 20% higher than the number who quit in 2012-13.”

“The Government’s shameful decision to abolish the bursaries follows what the Secretary of State for Health labelled the ‘worst ever’ NHS winter crisis. It is clear that the demand for nurses is getting higher. A recent Macmillan Cancer Support report revealed that hospitals in England have vacancies for more than 400 cancer nursing specialists. Cancer nurses are being run ragged and some patients are not receiving the specialist care they need.”

“I am alarmed that Ministers have pushed ahead with these further bursary cuts in the face of all evidence. Bursaries for undergraduate nurses were abolished last year and this resulted in a 23% fall in the number of applications by students in England to nursing and midwifery courses at British universities. Perhaps universities will have to look at funding nurses bursaries.”

“The Government’s regressive cuts will mean that health students will not get the support they need and will likely lead to a fall in the number of applications to study nursing and midwifery.”