UNITED KINGDOM — The shortage of registered nurses contributes to the rocketing costs for agency staff at hospitals in East Kent and this may even worsen due to training bursaries being axed by the NHS. This was voiced out by a health campaigner, who reasoned that the move might be one more out of the many bitter pills hospital owners have to swallow. Seeing that they are already wrestling with a £35 million pound deficit as well as an enormous challenge of configuring the three sites in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet.
Starting next year, all nursing students will need to pay 27,000 for a three-year degree course.
Peggy Pryer is a retired nurse and the secretary of East Kent’s Campaign for Health. She is worried that the move may discourage many prospective candidates from deciding to take nursing as their career choice.
Pryer reasons that very few would consider paying £27,000 to study for three years only to end up having a salary of less than £22,000 once they become registered nurses. She also added that the latest move would lessen women enrollees who in the past took up the profession after their children became more independent from necessary and rigorous parental care.
Pryer further added that the need for appropriately qualified registered nurses in hospital wards is indispensable. She in now advocating the revival of the so-called state enrolled nurse, wherein despite the lack of degrees, they will be highly trained as well as registered with and recognized by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Furthermore, Pryer also believes that a scheme of apprenticeship may work.
Christ Church University runs degree courses in nursing. It was very much subscribed during the last enrollment, with its students mindful to take advantage of the final chance to acquire an NHS bursary. There are nursing courses in two of the University’s campuses, namely the Medway and Canterbury campuses.
According to Christ Church, they are currently attempting to mitigate this effect by giving out grants reaching £1,000 per year, in support of its students through a bursary scheme of its own. It set aside a fund of £200,000 for this.
Meanwhile, East Kent Hospitals Trust urgently tries to mitigate hospital staff shortage to minimize their reliance on hired agency staff that is said to cost many millions.