A recent study has found that applications by nurses and midwives have dramatically dropped since the government’s decision to abolish NHS bursaries, leaving thousands of students with the prospect of now finding upwards of £9000 a year for their fees.
This comes as a shock to many prospective nurses, with a clear majority being working mothers and unable to afford fees alongside child care, with the application figures dropping by 23% this year alone and the figure expected to rise in the years to come.
Janet Davies, secretary at the Royal College of Nursing has stated that the figures have confirmed the ‘worst fears’ of nurses and midwives across the country, with the NHS already suffering a substantial lack in both funding and numbers.
The abolishing of bursaries has undoubtedly affected the numbers applying, yet universities, and the government are surprisingly, and arguably ignorantly in apparent denial, stating that although a dip has been experienced, the levels will soon regulate. These opinions link to the rising of tuition fees, which did witness a drop in applications that eventually levelled out as people realised that they had to simply accept the grim reality of their fees now costing triple the normal price.
The drop in applications is also so alarming due to fact that it was preceded by an impressive rise in applications for people over the age of 20, choosing to opt for further education alongside a job. These levels have now sadly dropped dramatically, as many working people are unable to afford the cost without a loan.
These changes are part of a series of actions by the Conservative majority party to attempt to privatise the idea of higher education, with fees now tripled, bursaries now scrapped and higher level red brick universities complete with a £250 increase, just for ‘good measure’.
Nick Hillman, who oversees the Higher Education Policy Institute comments on this attempt to exert privilege over university applications, stating that high fees are depriving people of a higher education, which is perceived to be only attainable by the fortunate; ‘the woefully low entry rates among some groups, such as poor white working-class males…suggests there is plenty of room for improvement’.
The NHS now stands even more vulnerable in the wake of these cuts, with the Royal College of Midwives arguing that the move has threatened the maternity services of England, whilst the College of Nursing have labelled the move as needlessly risky and unacceptable, plunging our health service into yet more turmoil.
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