Helen Whyley, Director RCN Wales, said: ““The RCN welcomes the announcement that the NHS Wales Bursary scheme will continue for the 2020/2021 academic year. However, yet again we have a one year extension to an essential funding stream for undergraduate nursing programmes, and it cannot continue indefinitely. The funding of nurse education in Wales is essential to building a sustainable workforce and filling the significant vacancies for nurses across Wales. A bursary funding stream encourages and supports students from all socio-economic backgrounds to come to Wales in order to study.
We know form the experience in England that removing an NHS Bursary has seen the numbers of mature students coming into nursing fall dramatically. While there is currently a strong supply of applicants for student places at Welsh Universities with the lowest attrition (drop-out) rate in the UK but we can’t make the most of this offer when it continues to so short term.
RCN Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to make a long term commitment to investing in safeguarding the nursing student bursary in Wales."