Nurses will be forced to pay tuition fees and living costs as George Osborne scrapped public funding for students in a move to create 10,000 extra training places.
The Chancellor set out plans to “modernise” nurse training by removing the “self-defeating cap” on student nurses which he said meant at least half of all applicants are turned away.
Bursaries used to pay for tuition and living costs will be replaced by direct loans freeing up around £800m a year currently used to fund 60,000 students through their three year degree courses. Mr Osborne said the changes would stop NHS hospitals relying so much on expensive agency staff and having to recruit thousands more nurses from abroad.
The Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing said the move would saddle nurses with enormous debt. Students who pay up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees typically graduate with debts of around £50,000.
Janet Davies said: “Whilst today’s commitment is positive, student nurses shouldn’t be the ones having to pay for it.Student nurses aren’t like other students. Half of their time is spent in clinical practice working directly with patients and their families and they have a longer academic year.
“These proposals will saddle future generations of these student nurses with even more debt and financial pressures and unless nurses pay improves, many graduates will never be in a position to pay their loans back.”
The 10,000 new places will not be solely for nursing, but also midwifery and “other allied health subjects”, according to Autumn Statement documents.
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
1/19 24 June 2017
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses revellers from the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival
2/19 23 June 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017
3/19 22 June 2017
Cosplay fans (L-R) George Massingham, Abbey Forbes and Karolina Goralik travel by tube dressed in Harry Potter themed costumes, after a visit to one the literary franchise's movie filming locations at Leadenhall Market in London, Britain
4/19 22 June 2017
Racegoers cheer on their horse on Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London
5/19 21 June 2017
A reveller walks among the tipi tents at the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England
6/19 20 June 2017
A police officer lays some flowers passed over by a member of the public, close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, after one man died and eight people were taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrian
The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack
People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack
A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London
Vivenne Westwood walks the runway at the Vivenne Westwood show during the London Fashion Week Men's June 2017 collections
Millwall fan and London Bridge hero Roy Larner on 'Good Morning Britain'
Richard Arnold, Roy Larner, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on 'Good Morning Britain'
16/19 11 June 2017
England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
17/19 11 June 2017
England players celebrate with the trophy after the final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Venezuela and England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
18/19 11 June 2017
Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates winning the Elite Men Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
19/19 11 June 2017
Two men drink beer outside the Southwark Tavern which reopened for business today next to an entrance to Borough Market which remains closed in London
The Chancellor also announced an extra £600m in funding mental health. He thanked MPs Norman Lamb and Andrew Mitchell, as well as former No 10 Director of Communications Alastair Campbell, for their work in the “vital area”.
Mr Osborne said the money would mean that by 2020 “significantly more people will have access to talking therapies, perinatal mental health services, and crisis care.”
Mr Campbell, a prominent supporter of Time to Change, England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination, told the Independent it was a “significant” policy move from the Chancellor.
“He knew from our Equality4MentalHealth campaign that we would only accept the warm words about a new approach if they were accompanied by new funds,” he said.
“The devil is always in the detail but on the surface this is to be welcomed. It suggests that the change to attitudes many have been fighting for under the Time to Change umbrella is really beginning to bear fruit. But my worry has always been if we win the change in attitudes, so that more people open up about mental illness, then the demand for services will grow, and it is important the services are there to meet that demand. Many services have been cut in the past, so I certainly hope this signals the end of that trend.”
The NHS budget will rise from £101 billion today to £120bn by 2020-21. Mr Osborne said of the promised £8bn in extra funding by the end of this Parliament the NHS will receive £6bn of it up front next year - a move which Simon Stevens, the NHS England boss, had called for to relieve financial pressures.
Mr Osborne also said he expects the NHS to deliver £22 billion of efficiency savings in England and the DoH has agreed a 25 per cent cut from its Whitehall budget.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the NHS money “seems to be coming” from nurses training, the public health budget and other aspects of local authority support around care.
He said: “This will be a false economy which will simply cause more burdens to fall on the NHS. All the signs are that we are facing a massive winter crisis in our NHS and yet again we will have to rely upon the professional dedication of our staff.”
The Autumn Statement was made as it emerged winter deaths are at their highest since 1999 with an estimated 43,900 excess deaths in England and Wales last winter, figures show.Reuse content