More than 20 health organisations have written an open letter calling the Government to halt funding reforms for student nurses and midwives.
The coalition of healthcare trade unions, charities and professional colleges has called proposals to cut students’ education bursaries “short-sighted”.
The letter said: “These plans are a short-sighted attempt to solve a long-term and complicated problem.
“They have not been properly risk-assessed, and continuing with them as they stand would be nothing short of reckless.”
The letter added that these proposals risk reducing the supply of future nurses and midwives as well as that of allied health professions, when they’re most needed.
The letter was signed by leaders at the Royal College of Nursing, British Medical Association, The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Midwives as well as UNISON and the National Union of Students, among others.
The organisations describe the move as an “untested gamblewith the future of the workforce that have not been properly risk assessed.”
They said: “There is little explanation or consultation about what impact these funding changes will have on the plans of those who need to train for more advanced or specialist roles, such as health visitors or district nurses, at a time when their expertise is needed by patients more than ever.”
Furthermore, the letter highlights the need for such health professionals as more patients have multiple chronic conditions and care moves into the community.
The Government intends to replace the bursaries with student loans and releasing approximately £800 million each year.
The Department of Health also says the reforms will create extra nursing positions by 2020.
A spokesman from the department said: “We need more home-grown nurses in the NHS because they do an amazing job caring for patients, but currently two-thirds of people who apply to become a nurse aren’t accepted for training.”
“Our plans mean up to 10,000 more training places by the end of this parliament, with student nurses getting around 25% more financial support whilst they study.”