Making waves in the corridors of power

 Dame Donna Kinnair 3 Dec 2018

Support is growing for the RCN's campaign to #FundOurFuture nurses.

Fund Our Future
The RCN’s campaign to increase funding for nursing higher education in England is making waves in the corridors of power.
Last month, our student members descended on Westminster, keen to make politicians understand the true cost of taking on a nursing degree. 
Their stories of financial hardship hit a nerve and the Government has agreed to invest in the nursing workforce in the NHS Long Term Plan, and to consult on the costed options we’ve come up with to improve financial support for nursing students.
I was pleased to hear this commitment from new Heath Minister Stephen Hammond MP, because we need a solution. 
We have falling numbers of people starting nursing university courses and mature students have been disproportionately affected by the changes. 
I was drawn into nursing in my twenties, with a young family in tow – similar to many other mature nursing students who bring with them life experience that shapes their outlook, skills and the care they give.
For students of every age, new loans barely cover basic food, travel and housing costs. Nursing courses are 40-45 weeks a year, so students do not have time for part-time work to supplement their income.
Governments in Scotland and Wales are helping to highlight the minimal efforts being made in England as they’ve committed to retain the bursary and consider plans to better support students on clinical placements.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP said he wanted to address nurse shortages when he was at the RCN in October. He can start by setting aside a minimum of £1bn a year to improve access to nursing higher education, and make sure investment in nursing education is at the heart of the new Long Term Plan for the NHS in England. 
The higher education degree route remains the quickest and safest way to grow the nursing workforce. 
And that workforce needs to grow rapidly to meet and provide the care patients need and deserve, both now and in the future. With the number of nursing vacancies set to rise to 48,000 in five years, there couldn’t be a more urgent priority. 
So, we need your help. Write to your MP and ask them to write to the Secretary of State Matt Hancock MP and Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens asking them to put a minimum of £1billion a year back into nursing higher education as they set out the priorities for the long term plan for the NHS in December. 
Add your voice to our campaign and together we’ll show the Government we’re a force to be reckoned with.
Further information:

Dame Donna Kinnair

Dame Donna Kinnair

Chief Executive & General Secretary

Prior to her appointment as Acting Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dame Donna was Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice and worked with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Before joining the RCN, Donna held various roles, including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust.
Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Page last updated - 09/04/2020