Bursary blow for students
The Government has recently delivered a crushing blow to future nursing students by removing their bursaries – the financial support that helps many to complete their studies and go on to be nurses.
Without this essential support, many of us who are currently studying would not have been able to fulfil our dreams of becoming a nurse and we are worried about what this move means for the future of the NHS, our future colleagues and, above all, patient care.
Student nurses are not like other students. Half our time is spent doing clinical work and our academic year is longer, giving us fewer opportunities to earn money in our spare time.
We also tend to be older and many have families to support.
Taking away these grants and replacing them with hefty loans will only pile on more personal financial pressure to an already overstretched part of the health care workforce.
Not only that but many may never be able to pay back the loans, which will not save any money in the long run and make little financial sense.
Student nurses are the profession’s future and their relationship with the NHS is critical.
But this decision risks severing the critical link between the NHS and nursing students and, in doing so, the Government is effectively absolving itself of any responsibility to ensure that the right numbers of nurses are in the right place and with the right skills.
With this move, they are also throwing student nurse training open to the market and this is very concerning.
We are disappointed that the Royal College of Nursing, with its long track record in nurse education, was not consulted and hope that we are allowed to work with the Government on a solution that looks at these very real risks and concerns and finds ways to mitigate them. The future of nursing must be protected. Our patients deserve nothing less.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Student Committee member
A wake-up call for MPs
The devastation caused by the floods should be a wake-up call for the Government and environmental agency to get a grip.
They continue to allow housing to be built on known flood plains and do not practise good housekeeping such as the dredging of rivers and the clearing of drains.
In the last floods in the south of England, a farmer stated that dredging was ceased on the part of the river that broke its banks 26 years before and the pumping station –that pumped the water out when it reached a certain level –mothballed a few years later.
This is negligence on a grand scale.
As a child, the gentleman clearing the drains was a regular sight, as was the dredger on the canal near my home.
This may not prevent all flooding but it’s a good start.
Judy Goodwin via email
The floods are not solely an Act of God. The Lake District is quite accustomed to very heavy rain.
Much more responsible is the EU Water Framework Directive of 2000, which places severe restrictions on the dredging of rivers.
In its comments on the repeated flooding, the Environment Agency makes no reference to this legislation.
I wonder why not?