Labour leader reaffirms commitment to nursing bursaries during Birmingham visit

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The Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, visited Birmingham City University Thursday 9 June, to emphasise his commitment to protecting bursaries for future nursing students

Accompanied by the Shadow Heath Secretary, Heidi Alexander MP, as part of the ‘Labour In for Britain’ EU referendum campaign, they took part in a roundtable discussion with nursing students at the University’s City South Campus in Edgbaston. Bursaries were top of the agenda alongside the upcoming referendum itself.

Trainee nurses currently do not pay tuition fees, and receive a means tested bursary during their training, but from 1 August 2017, all nursing, midwifery and allied health students will instead be offered student loans to help them while studying. Many fear that these changes will deter those from less advantaged backgrounds from entering in to a nursing career.

Jeremy Corbyn said

“Many students here today were very worried about the future of student bursaries. I am very determined that we keep and defend these because it means those wishing to enter the profession can get the qualifications that they need, and it means that we all benefit because we have enough qualified nurses.

“It’s fantastic to be here at Birmingham City University. It’s been great to hear from students about the good experience they have had here at the University. They all liked the interplay between Birmingham Children’s Hospital and other hospitals within the region, giving them a good basis in their courses, and in developing them as healthcare professionals.” 

Prior to the discussion with students, Mr Corbyn and Ms Alexander explored the University’s state-of-the-art health training facilities, while students showcased their skills with a series of medical simulations and presentations. 

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Birmingham City University

“Birmingham City University is the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS, so we were delighted to welcome the Leader of the Labour Party and the Shadow Health Secretary to discuss a range of pressing issues affecting our nursing trainees, including concerns about student bursaries and the upcoming EU referendum.

“As an institution we remain neutral in the debate surrounding the EU referendum, but we recognise the importance in facilitating discussion on campus, which is why we have been driving a series of events to help students make an informed decision on Thursday 23 June.

“While the removal of the bursary for prospective nursing students could deter those from less advantageous backgrounds, as a University, we continue to work with under-represented groups and demonstrate to young people through our outreach programme how Higher Education can transform lives.”

Image: (left to right) Shadow Heath Secretary, Heidi Alexander MP, Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Birmingham City University and Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP 

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