Students and supporters marched in Westminster, London, to voice their anger over the government’s scheme to cut nurse bursaries.
This comes after the government announced that it will remove bursaries for student nurses and midwives who are starting their studies in September 2017, which it believes will mean more nurses can be trained.
However, commenting on the protest on Saturday, Sylvie Duval, chair of Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) Student Council said: “Bursaries are an essential financial support and without them, many of us here today wouldn’t have been able to fulfill our dream of becoming a nurse.
“Taking away these grants and replacing them with hefty loans will only pile on more personal financial pressure to an already overstretched part of the health care workforce,” she added.
After the plans were announced in the chancellor’s Spending Review in November, demonstrations took place in Newcastle, Manchester, and London.
More than 150,000 people have also signed an online petition calling on the government to retain the NHS bursary, and parliament will debate the issue from 4.30pm today. It can be watched live here.
Duval cautioned: “We are deeply worried about what this move means for the future of the NHS, our future colleagues and above all, patient care.”