Scotland announces student bursary increase
The first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has announced an increase in bursaries for student midwives and nurses.
The bursary will rise to £10,000 by 2020. Currently, eligible students in Scotland receive £6578 but they will benefit from an interim increase to £8100 in 2019/20, rising to £10,000 in 2020/21.
The RCM in Scotland has been lobbying for the increase, which will help cover accommodation and living expenses during their studies.
RCM Scotland director Mary Ross Davie said: ‘This is great news and a forward thinking and important announcement. It is crucial that we attract people into midwifery, from all walks of life, to ensure that we not only replace those midwives that will retire, but also that we attract the very best people into the profession. This will go a long, long way to ensuring that this happens.
‘Let us not forget that in England student midwives and nurses do not get any bursary at all, which makes this increase for Scotland even more progressive. This also comes on the back of the best pay award for NHS midwives and nurses in the UK, another important step to ensuring we retain the midwives we have.’
Mary said that the announcement shows that the Scottish Government is listening to not only the RCM, who have lobbied for this, but to other NHS professions as well. She added that it also shows that this government care about the NHS and it shows that they care about NHS staff and the people they care for.
‘I would urge the government in England to rethink their decision to take away bursaries in England,’ Mary said.
In England, student midwives and nurses do not get a bursary and have to pay their own tuition fees.
RCM executive director for services to members Suzanne Tyler said the announcement is great news for student midwives in Scotland, and those thinking of becoming a midwife there.
She added: ‘It should shame the government in England who have taken away bursaries for England’s student midwives, who also have to pay tuition fees. This leaves them tens of thousands of pounds in debt when they qualify.
‘This is even more worrying given the large shortage of midwives in England, and sits at odds with the government’s commitment to bring 3000 more midwives into the NHS in England.’
Suzanne said that the RCM repeats its call for this government to give student midwives and nurses their bursaries back, so that it will attract people into the profession and so that the government can meet their promise of 3000 more midwives for England.