David Cameron and George Osborne have been called on by the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, to cancel plans to replace nurse and midwife bursaries with loans.
Speaking in the final session of Prime Minister’s Questions before Christmas, Mr Corbyn read out a question from ‘Abby’; a 28 year-old midwife-in-training, stating that the decision will harm student nursing, as many people will be put off by ‘the lack of financial support and massive debts.’
‘In the spirit of Christmas, will the prime minister have a word with his friend the chancellor, who is sitting next to him—it can be done very quickly—to reverse the cuts in the nurse bursary scheme, so that we do get people like Abby training to be midwives, which will help all of us in the future,’ Mr Corbyn asked the prime minister.
Mr Cameron responded that the decision to remove nurse and midwife bursaries would see many more nurses, by allowing universities to offer as many training places as they wish, instead of being subject to a cap on training places due to financial constraints.
‘The right honorable gentleman mentions the question of nurse bursaries,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘The truth is that two out of three people who want to become nurses cannot do so because of the constraints on the system, and our new system will mean many more doctors and many more nurses.’
Mr Cameron and Mr Corbyn also clashed on subjects such as adult social care and an anticipated ‘winter crisis’ in the NHS.