The government’s plan to remove funding for student nurses and stop the limit of the number of students training to be nurses, revealed in the spending review yesterday, will “saddle future generations of these student nurses with even more debt and financial pressures,” Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said.
Moreover, unless nursing pay improves, many graduates will never be able to pay their loans back, she added.
“Student nurses aren’t like other students. 50% of their time is spent in clinical practice working directly with patients and their families and they have a longer academic year. These proposals will saddle future generations of these student nurses with even more debt and financial pressures and unless nurses pay improves, many graduates will never be in a position to pay their loans back.
“The ring-fence to nursing student funding has been removed and a precious link between the NHS and its nurses is potentially at risk, making it harder to plan for the future workforce. There are still a lot of question marks about how the system will actually work but the RCN is certain that anything that makes people worse off or deters them from becoming nurses, would be a big loss to our society,” Davies stated.
Similarly, Macmillian Cancer said that while “it is good news that urgently-needed NHS investment is coming sooner rather than later” theyfound the spending review “very worrying”, particularly as the proposed changes to welfare “may make it even harder for people with cancer to manage the financial impact of their condition,” Juliet Bouverie, director of services and influencing at the charity, said.
She continued: “We also haven’t seen specific funding being allocated to improving end of life care, and we hope to see further commitments that will improve choice for people at the end of life,” and the charity also want the full cancer strategy to be implemented.
Carers UK applauded local authorities new power to raise care funding through council tax, and a boosted Better Care Fund, but Heléna Herklots, their chief executive, said that “although welcome, this extra money falls far short of the funding needed to provide the vital care that older and disabled people need.”
She said: “Without access to social care, families have to step in, meaning they are providing more and more care at greater cost to their own health, wellbeing and financial security. Carers are already saving the UK economy £132 billion every year with the unpaid care they provide.”