RCN condemns student nurse bursary cut in Northern Ireland
Published: 02 August 2012
The RCN has firmly opposed DHSSPS proposals to cut the level of bursary for pre-registration nursing and midwifery students in Northern Ireland.
The DHSSPS consultation document proposes that, from September 2012, the level of bursary will be reduced by £890 per annum to £5165. In addition, students will no longer receive the current book and uniform allowance of £190.
Pre-registration nursing students are already committed to 45 weeks per year of study, 50% of which is dedicated to clinical placements. Maintaining a part-time job is difficult under these circumstances, as students are expected to work shift patterns, covering patient care twenty four hours per day, seven days per week.
The RCN is concerned both about the impact of this proposed financial cut on nursing students and the fact that those who have applied to begin their studies in September 2012 will have been unaware of the proposed changes at the time of their application.
Janice Smyth, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said: “Cutting student nurse bursaries on this scale is discriminatory, unfair and wrong. Nine out of ten student nurses are women and many have childcare responsibilities. The RCN rejects the DHSSPS’ argument that this cut will not affect the supply of student nurses.
"We question why student nurses and midwives are being singled out in this way. Student nurses and RCN members have made clear their dismay and anger at these proposals. If the DHSSPS insists on cutting the bursary, the RCN will strenuously oppose this move by every means possible.”
Download the RCN response to the consultation (Word 111KB)