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#FundOurFuture Nurses

We're calling for a minimum of £1bn a year to be put back into nursing higher education.

RCN students at Westminster

Students speak out

Nursing students descended on Westminster to convince MPs that they should increase funding for nursing higher education in England.

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Funding for nursing degrees in England isn’t working

Nursing students are unique. Their courses are longer than other degrees and, on top of their studies, they spend additional time on clinical placement working all hours of the day and night.

Many nursing students are struggling financially because they don’t have time to work to support themselves. It’s causing some students to quit their courses.

It’s no surprise then that since the changes to nursing degree funding in 2016, there are nearly 900 fewer nurses due to start at university.

The Government must fix this. It must look again at how it funds nursing higher education, including by putting a minimum of £1bn a year back into the system to support students.

There are already almost 41,000 nursing vacancies in England alone. Without action now this could rise to at least 48,000 in the next five years, because there won’t be enough newly qualified nurses to address this shortfall.

Nursing students are on their courses to learn. But, because of the current shortages, they're being used to fill workforce gaps and caring for patients before they are qualified to.

This isn’t fair to nursing students and it isn’t safe for patients.

It's time to prioritise funding for nursing higher education

In January 2019, the Government and NHS England set out NHS priorities for the next ten years in the Long Term Plan.

The plan includes funding increases for GPs, mental health and community care. However, it fails to address the shortfall in staffing numbers – in particular, the extra nurses needed to translate the good intentions within the plan into better care for patients.

The success of the Long Term Plan relies on having the right number of nurses with the right skills. Therefore, we’re calling for a minimum of £1bn a year to be put back into nursing higher education, to secure the nurses the NHS desperately needs.

This would go some way to replace the funding lost when the bursary was removed in 2016.

The Long Term Plan may have been published, but we’ll continue to work with members to campaign on this issue.
 
We've already produced costed measures such as a maintenance grant for all nursing students and practical support for tuition, including bringing back the bursary or introducing forgivable loans. In this second option, loans would be paid back by the Government in return for nursing service.

Report: Fund Our Future Nurses

The RCN has produced cost effective options to support nursing students and grow the nursing workforce in England.
40,877 Nursing vacancies in England
48,000 Estimated nurse vacancies in England by 2023
885 Fewer nurses due to start at university