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Farron announces nursing bursaries at Royal College of Nursing speech

May 15, 2017 6:36 PM

Tim Farron has spoken about the crisis facing the NHS in Cumbria during a well-received speech to the Royal College of Nursing in Liverpool today. Tim also announced a plan to reinstate student bursaries for nurses.

Tim talked about the crisis facing the NHS, drawing on a recent account of a young person suffering from anorexia who had come to him as an MP because they could not get care because they were not ill enough.

Tim announced that the Party would reinstate student bursaries, which benefit nursing, midwifery and allied health students, with immediate effect. In 2015, the Conservative Government announced they would be scrapping bursaries for nursing students from August 2017.

UCAS figures show that the number of applications for nursing courses due to start this year were approximately 10,000 lower - down by nearly a quarter - compared to the same point last year. The Liberal Democrats argue that this short-sighted cut will compound the existing shortage of nurses in the NHS, threatening the quality of patient care.

Tim has also set out plans for a penny in the pound increase in income tax, which would provide the NHS with an extra £6bn per year. In Cumbria, this would mean an extra £40m per year.

Tim was given a standing ovation for his speech.

Tim said: "The Government's decision to abandon bursaries for nursing students was clearly wrong. The evidence has shown a drastic fall in the number of people applying to study nursing following this dangerously short-sighted cut. We should be supporting more people into these vital professions - but instead this Government are putting up greater barriers.

"The Liberal Democrats are proud that we are committing to support nurses, midwives and other NHS professionals, not only by reinstating the bursary but by ending the cap on public sector pay rises and giving our NHS the extra money it needs over the next Parliament, which will reduce pressures on our hardworking staff.

"Cumbria's NHS is in crisis but with the right support we can ensure that we have a properly-funded, sustainable system that provides top-quality care to all."