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Student nurses to receive £5,000 a year bursary from 2020

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Nursing students in England will be given at least £5,000 a year from September, Downing Street has confirmed.

Boris Johnson pledged in his manifesto to reinstate the bursaries after they were scrapped by the Conservatives as part of their austerity measures.

The funding, which will not need to be repaid, will be given to all new and continuing degree-level nursing and midwifery students from September 2020 to help with living costs.

It is expected to benefit more than 35,000 students every year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I have heard loud and clear that the priority of the British people is to focus on the NHS – and to make sure this treasured institution has everything it needs to deliver world-class care.

“Nurses epitomise everything that makes the NHS so revered across the world – skill, compassion, energy and dedication.

“On the steps of Downing Street last week, I said we will deliver 50,000 more nurses, and this new financial support package is a crucial part of delivering this.

“There can be no doubting our commitment to the NHS, and over the coming months we will bring forward further proposals to transform this great country.”

The announcement has been made ahead of the UCAS deadline for university applications on 15 January, something the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) specifically requested in the run-up to the general election.

RCN members have been campaigning for more funding after the bursary, which covered university tuition fees and provided mean-tested maintenance support, was scrapped in 2016. Since then applications to study nursing have dropped by 25% in England.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Donna Kinnair said: “With tens of thousands of vacant nurse jobs, serious measures are needed. This grant is a first victory for the campaign that our student nurses are running. The announcement will hopefully encourage more people to apply to a nursing degree by the mid-January deadline.”

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