A Times op-ed called the move a 'toxic political mix... driven more by ideology than logic' and called for the policy to be scrapped.
Cuts to nursing and midwifery bursaries come into effect today whilst record numbers of nurses leave the profession – this ‘perfect storm’ in the NHS may lead to backlash within the Tory party, writes Rachel Sylvester in the Times.
Rachel Sylvester writes in today’s Times that the abolition of nurses and midwives’ bursaries are “an act of self-harm” and may come to be a central part of “growing backlash from ministers” against Theresa May.
“If the British public are weary of austerity, as Philip Hammond has admitted, then they’ve truly had enough of this kind of austerity for austerity’s sake, a reform that appears to have been more driven by ideology than logic”
“The current policy mix seems almost designed to create a serious crisis”, says Sylvester in a Times op-ed today, referring to 40,000 unfilled nursing posts in England and the fact that a record number are leaving the profession.
Sylvester says, going on to make a point-by-point case against the decision to scrap the bursaries.
Nursing and midwifery applications have dropped by a fifth, the article goes on, whilst the NHS already faces a “growing workforce problem”.
“The Treasury is simply kicking the cost of training nurses and midwives down the road”, writes Sylvester, referring to analysis that shows the vast majority of nurses, who until recently were trained for free, will never pay off the exorbitant tuition fee loans.
The column argues that the government should immediately reintroduce bursaries for nurses and midwives “but with strings attached”:
“Requiring graduates to commit a minimum period to the NHS. This would boost morale, encourage applications and prevent a brain drain of qualified staff”
We’ve reported on the cut to nursing and midwifery bursaries several times in the last month, but it’s encouraging to see the issue reaching the pages of a newspaper with an ear so close to the Conservative party.
Could this be another sign of the tide turning against austerity? We sincerely hope so.