This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government

Petition Re-instate nursing bursary and scrap tuition fees.

Currently 41,722 nursing vacancies in the NHS. Due to the removal of bursaries, the cost of tuition fees and the amount of student loan debt and current interest rate on student loans , applications to study nursing has fallen by over 20%

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" Closing the gap " Key areas for action on the health and care workforce

National Health Excutive - workforce and training

Nursing Times - Rise in nurse vacancy rate in England prompts fresh warnings

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 14 May 2019

The tuition fee model means universities can offer more nursing places and students can access more funding than under the bursary system, and there are no plans to reinstate the bursary.

Read the response in full

The previous funding system for nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students was not working for patients, students, or universities. Training costs were largely borne by the NHS, resulting in a capping of the number of trainees.

In August 2017, the government changed the funding system for pre-registration undergraduate nurse training. New undergraduate nursing, midwifery and allied health profession students moved from NHS bursaries to the standard undergraduate student support system. The intention of the reforms is to boost participation, secure the future supply of home-grown nurses to the NHS, and enable universities to create additional nursing and midwifery training places.

New postgraduate pre-registration nursing, midwifery, allied health professional, and most new undergraduate dental hygiene and dental therapy students now also receive tuition fee loans and, for full-time courses, living costs support, administered by Student Loans Company, rather than NHS bursaries from 1 August 2018.

Under the standard student support system, healthcare students will typically receive up to 25% increase in financial aid whilst studying.

All eligible pre-registration undergraduate and postgraduate healthcare courses are exempt from rules that normally prevent students from getting funding for a second qualification at the same level. Graduates will qualify for the standard student loan package if they wish to take a healthcare course as a second degree.

Eligible healthcare students may also be able to access a non-repayable grant of £1,000 per year if they have child dependants, exceptional support of up to £3,000 per year in the case of severe hardship and support for excess travel and dual accommodation expenses incurred by attending practice placements.

Loans are repaid only when graduates are in employment and earning over £25,725, at a rate of 9% of income over that amount. If earnings drop below £25,725 then repayments stop. Any outstanding loan balance is written off 30 years after the repayment period starts. A nurse on £27,000 [including payments for unsocial hours] would repay £9.56 per month.

The Government has made available additional clinical placement funding to support universities in increasing the number of training places they can offer.

On 7 February 2019, the University and College Admissions Service published full-time undergraduate nursing and midwifery applications made by 15 of January deadline for September 2019 entry. This data showed a 4.5% increase in the number of applicants compared to the same point in 2018. Courses are oversubscribed, with 1.4 applicants per nursing and midwifery place. There are currently over 52,000 nurses in training.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published 7 of January 2019, sets out a vital strategic framework to ensure that over the next ten years the NHS will have the staff it needs, ensuring that nurses are able to offer the expert care they are committed to providing. To deliver on these commitments, the Secretary of State has asked Baroness Dido Harding to chair a programme of work to build a shared vision and a plan of action that puts NHS people at the heart of NHS policy and delivery. Baroness Dido Harding will work closely with Sir David Behan, Chair of Health Education England, to lead a number of programmes to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan. Baroness Harding and Sir David will present these initial recommendations to the Department this Spring.

We have put in place actions to increase nursing workforce supply, covering improving staff retention, return to practice, overseas recruitment, expanding nursing associates, improving sickness absence and review of language controls.

The Department has opened new routes into nursing for those who do not want, or are unable, to study for a full-time degree at University, this includes the Nurse Degree Apprenticeship and the new Nursing Associate role.

In May 2018, the Secretary of State for Health announced a £10,000 incentive package for 2018/19 loan-funded postgraduate nursing students who take up employment in Learning Disability, Mental Health or Community Nursing roles. The details of this incentive will be published in due course.

The Prime Minister announced a review of post-18 education in February 2018 to drive up quality, increase choice and ensure value for money. The review is looking at a range of issues, including how we can ensure that the education system for those aged 18 years and over is accessible to all, and is supported by a funding system that provides value for money and works for students and taxpayers. The independent panel will report shortly. The Government will then conclude the overall review later this year.

Department of Health and Social Care.