Defend Nurses’ Bursaries

There is a severe shortage of nurses in the UK, reports Dr Veronika Wagner, and the situation isn’t helped by the government’s unjust training and recruitment policies.

How do we motivate someone to choose a particular job or career? Perhaps by treating them well and making them feel welcome. Sadly, this isn’t the approach our government is taking towards NHS recruitment. Those who come to work in the health service from outside the EU are forced to return home if they end up earning less than £35,000 per year. The appalling cull of 1200 matron/senior nursing posts is hardly likely to attract new employees either. But worst of all, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will soon be scrapping student nurses’ bursaries, making it financially impossible for many people – especially mature students with families – to train for such roles.

To anyone with common sense, these measures seem like a sure-fire way to ensure as few people as possible become nurses.

Now this is where government spin and Orwellian newspeak comes in: these policies are being sold to us as methods of “recruiting more nurses and student nurses” and soon, supposedly, we’ll have a lot more nurses than before. All is now well with the NHS – or so the propaganda has it.

In the background, however, the NHS is being slowly dismantled, much like a building might be dismantled by removing the structure and foundations while keeping the façade intact or at least standing upright — for now at least.

If you and your loved ones wish to be cared for by a properly accountable, publicly-owned and -funded NHS now and in the future then please get behind the save the bursaries marches which are happening all over the country this coming weekend 9th and 10th January 2016, locally in Portsmouth on Sunday 10th January 3pm City Centre South (by the fountain), in London on Saturday 9th January (the main march), as well as in Manchester, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and other places around the country.

Join us this Sunday in Portsmouth and show your solidarity with our NHS!