Supporting the next generation of nurses for Essex

May 16, 2017 1:09 PM
By Mike Hibbs

Tim Farron, Monday, confirmed that the Party would reinstate student bursaries, which benefit nursing, midwifery and allied health students, with immediate effect. We should be supporting more people into these vital professions - but instead this Government are putting up greater barriers.

Brexit will bring significant challenges to the NHS in our region.

  • To the south, Mid Essex Hospitals Trust (which includes Broomfield Hospital) was identified as one of the top 20 trusts at risk from a nursing shortage as a result from a vote to leave the European Union. Only 6 other trusts employ greater a greater percentage of nurses from the European Economic area. (click here for more details).
  • To the North, 12% of the staff at the Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (which includes the Addenbrookes and Rosie hospitals) are non-UK, EU citizens. The head of that Trust has reported significant disquiet about the implications on Brexit amongst its staff (click here for more details).

Liberal Democrats want a quick resolution on guarantees for EU citizens residing in the UK. We will have to rely on foreign staff in the NHS for the foreseeable future.

It is important, however, to train the next generation of local nurses or we will be continually reliant on importing staff. In 2015, the Conservative Government announced they would be scrapping bursaries for nursing students from August 2017. The Liberal Democrats argue that this short-sighted cut will compound the existing shortage of nurses in the NHS, threatening the quality of patient care.

UCAS figures show that the number of applications for nursing courses due to start this year were approximately 10,000 lower - down by nearly a quarter - compared to the same point last year. (click here for more information)

We agree with Tim Farron when he said:

"The Liberal Democrats are proud that we are committing to support nurses, midwives and other NHS professionals, not only by reinstating the bursary but by ending the cap on public sector pay rises and giving our NHS the extra money it needs over the next Parliament, which will reduce pressures on our hardworking staff."