• Conor McGinn calls for Government U-turn on decision to scrap bursaries for student nurses and midwives

    STP

    Conor has called on the Government to drop its plans to abolish bursaries for student nurses and midwives.

    NHS bursaries are due to be scrapped from August in a move that could leave students paying tuition fees of more than £9,000 and forced to rely on student loans.

    But Conor is fighting the move which he warned would only worsen the recruitment crisis which had meant local hospitals are forced to rely more heavily on agency nurses to plug staffing gaps.

    His demand comes after it was revealed last year that St Helens Care Commissioning Group faced a £12.5 million shortfall in its funding.

    Conor is backing a Labour campaign for a Government U-turn over the plan to scrap the bursaries for student nurses amid fears it could worsen NHS staffing problems across Merseyside.

    Latest national figures show that students are already avoiding nursing degrees because of the extra financial burden on them.  Almost 10,000 fewer would-be nurses have applied for university courses – 23 per cent fewer than last year.

    Commenting, Conor said:

    “There has already been a big drop in the number of people applying to become nurses which is likely to have a damaging impact on healthcare in St Helens and elsewhere.

    “That should be a wake-up call to the government which needs to rethink these badly flawed plans to abolish bursaries.

    “We have seen the huge pressure that the NHS is under in St Helens and this ill-judged decision by the Government will just make matters worse.

    “With Britain leaving the EU, we will need home-trained nurses more than ever.  But the government’s decision is likely to worsen the staff shortages already faced by many hospitals.”