In response to the Assembly Question, which asked whether Minister Robin Swann will increase the bursary available to nursing students in light of the current cost-of-living emergency, the Department responded ‘The Bursary arrangements for healthcare students are kept under continuous review.’
Said the Foyle MLA: “Like everyone else, nursing students are struggling to cope with the rising costs of fuel, food and energy.
“However, unlike everyone else, we ask nursing students to live on only £430 a month while working fifty per cent of their university degree on placement in our hospitals, helping to care for the sickest and most vulnerable members of our society.
“The truth is that we are reliant on these students to fill vacancies in our health service, yet this bursary has not been increased in the last ten years.
“Nursing students are also disproportionately more likely to be women, to be mature students and to have children and caring responsibilities than other students, meaning that many are also trying to help support a family throughout this crisis.
“Just last month, we heard of a student nurse sleeping in his car between shifts because of the spiralling costs of fuel.
“This is an impossible situation to be putting our students in and it can’t be allowed to continue.
“We are going into a very difficult winter ahead, where we will rely on students like these to keep our health service running.
“We need to do everything possible to support them and quite frankly, they deserve a better answer than this from the Department.
“The Minister should immediately outline what capacity is available and required to increase the bursary and work with representatives of the nursing profession to agree a suitable increase.”Tags: