The consultation on the planned changes to the student NHS bursary has launched today.
The government has said that the removal of the student NHS bursary will create up to 10,000 more nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals training places by the end of this parliament by allowing universities to accept more applicants than they currently do.
'Since the wider reforms to higher education our universities are offering more places and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to access an undergraduate degree,' said health minister Ben Gummer.
“Our proposed reforms will extend these benefits to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, who have so far been excluded from these benefits. It is vital that the changes are implemented in the right way, which is why I would encourage as many people as possible to contribute to the consultation,' he added.
The government put forward these changes to try to adapt NHS staff to the changing population, train more nurses in England, and reduce the reliance on agency and overseas staff. It is also a move which will align NHS courses with the wider higher education funding structure. Since those changes, university application rates have risen, and there have been more applications from disadvantaged students.
The proposed changes will also offer student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals typically around 25% or more financial support while they study, said the Department of Health.
Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing at Health Education England, said: 'Our job, with universities and with the NHS is to ensure that we continue to recruit high quality graduates to the service to support patients with safe, high-quality services in the future. We encourage everyone with an interest in delivering these services to patients in the future to make their voices heard in response to this consultation.'
Currently two thirds of people who apply to become a nurse aren't accepted for training according to the Department of Health.
The consultation will run until Thursday 30 June and will allow everyone to contribute and have their say on how they changes should be implemented.
Chancellor George Osbourne in November 2015 that student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals would no longer receive a student bursary for courses beginning in August 2017. This was met with a high level of criticism from nursing leaders and nurses. There have been a number of protests and a petition against the decision, which reached over 160,000 signatures.