QUEEN’S students have warned that patients in local hospitals could be at risk due to proposed cuts to trainee nursing bursaries. Discussions are underway to slash the funding available to nursing students, who learn their trade at Queen’s Medical Biology Centre MBC on the Lisburn Road. It is feared that student nurses could lose up to £890 annually, while allowances for essentials such as books and uniforms could also be scrapped.
However, the Students Union have warned that not only will this place young nurses under extra financial pressure, but it could affect the wider health service, with less undergrads applying for the course.
Jason O’Neill, the President of QUB Students Union said: “These proposed cuts literally threaten the future of our health service, as many potential students may not apply because of a lack of financial support.
“These students carry out a significant amount of work while on placement in hospitals, which greatly benefits the health service. Because of this hard work done on placements, it also makes it very difficult for them to supplement their income through part time work, so how are they expected to cope?”
The threatened cuts have also been slammed by local MLA Conall McDevitt, who acts as the SDLP’s health spokesman.
“We, in the SDLP, also have serious concerns that this is just the first slice of the cuts and are worried that others are on the way which could have a detrimental impact on hardworking, loyal, frontline health workers.”