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Harlow Labour calls on government to backdate bursaries for student nurses in the wake of “appalling” comments by Health Minister

News / Thu 25th Jun 2020 at 06:45am

Harlow Labour calls on the government to backdate bursaries for student nurses in the wake of “appalling” comments by the Health Minister

HARLOW Labour is calling on the Conservative government to backdate the £5,000 student bursary to student nurses who have played a key role in the NHS’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

A bursary, which covered the cost of training to be a nurse in England, was scrapped in 2016. However following pressure from nursing and student representatives, the government announced in December 2019 that all student nurses on English degree courses as of September 2020 will receive a £5,000 annual grant to help with their living costs.

This means that student nurses who studied between 2016 and 2020 and who have been critical to front line pandemic response, will miss out on this financial support. When questioned about the government’s controversial decision, Helen Whately MP, Minister for Care, said student nurses were “not deemed to be providing a service”.

Harlow Council’s Labour Leader Mark Ingall said: “I’m appalled by the comments made by Helen Whately and by the government’s refusal to give student nurses serving on the frontline the bursary they deserve.”

“Every Thursday during lockdown, people clapped for our care and health workers. I joined with Labour colleagues, politicians and members of the Conservative Party and with residents to show our appreciation for their service. Regardless of political differences, we were united in our desire to demonstrate the indebtedness and gratitude for the hard work of everyone in our NHS and in our care services.”

“But this government’s actions in denying these bursaries and the comments made by its own minister, are a kick in in the teeth for student nurses.”

“Harlow Labour is urging the government to reconsider and backdate the bursary – and I hope that Harlow’s MP, Robert Halfon will do the same – because this is not a question of ‘left or right’, ‘red or blue’, this is a question of fairness; of what’s right and what’s wrong and on this the government is completely and utterly wrong.”

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