After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.
That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:
The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.
Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.
Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.
Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.
Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.
“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.
“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”
Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!
It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.
Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.
And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?
She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.
“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.
“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.
“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”
Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.
She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”
It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.
This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.
And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.
Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.
If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.
And now I must ask: is that the plan?
Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?
The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.
If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.
You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.
And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.
Are you looking forward to that?
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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