Postgraduate students who decide to train as district nurses will be given a £10,000 golden hello as part of the Government’s drive to improve recruitment into certain nursing disciplines.
The incentives were announced by health minister Stephen Barclay at a Parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, during which a Labour motion to stop postgraduate nursing bursaries being removed later this year was defeated.
Speaking to the Commons on Wednesday evening, Mr Barclay said that the money will feature as part of a larger £9.1m package designed to increase the number of nurses in specific areas.
He said: ‘The postgraduate market has certain features that are distinct from the undergraduate market. In particular, in certain disciplines such as mental health, some older applicants are more risk averse about taking on a student loan.
‘So it is the Government’s intention to offer golden hellos to postgraduate students in specific hard to recruit disciplines – namely mental health, learning and disability, and district nursing – with an incentive of £10,000 golden hellos to reflect the fact that those disciplines have difficulty in recruiting.’
He added that this money would be ‘supplemented by a further £900,000 to mitigate where any geographical area has a particular challenge in terms of recruiting.’
The move was welcomed by Conservative MP and chair of the health select committee Dr Sarah Wollaston, who said she was ‘very grateful’ to Mr Barclay for listening to the concerns raised by the committee towards the end of 2017.
The Conservative Government’s intention to scrap the postgraduate nursing bursary, and bring postgraduate education in line with undergraduate education, was announced in February and met with criticism from the Royal College of Nursing.
But a Labour motion to prevent the removal of the postgraduate bursary was defeated in the Commons yesterday by a majority of 61 votes (295 votes to 234), and a majority of 74 when only MPs in England were considered (273 votes to 199).