The public believes the government should continue to pay for the training of student nurses and midwives, a new survey by Unison revealed.
Unison commissioned the polling as part of its submission to the government's consultation into plans to scrap the nursing bursary. More than three-quarters of voters who took part in the YouGov survey believe that the government must carry on paying the tuition fees of student nurses and others studying to become NHS health professionals.
The curernt government proposal is to remove the student bursary, thus student nurses, midwives and AHPs will have to fund their own university education.
'There is already a desperate shortage of nurses. Scrapping the bursary next year will simply add to the huge pressures on an already overwhelmed NHS. This poll clearly shows that the public thinks the government should meet the cost of student nurses' training,' said Unison health of health Christina McAnea.
She stated the nursing students tend to be older and may already have debt from a first degree. She went on to call the plans 'ill-conceived' and will deter nursing recruits, not attract them.
Survey respondents also asked if they thought student nurses should be paid for their time during their placements. Some 71% thought they should and a third thought they should be paid the national living wage (£7.20 an hour for anyone over the age of 25).
Unison has calculated that students graduating in 2020 could be saddled with debts of around £51,600, yet will be starting out in the workplace on a salary of under £23,000.Ms McAnea said that the union is calling on ministers to pause the plans and rethink them.