Means-tested elements of bursary support for nursing and midwifery students are to be increased by 15% for the 2022/23 academic year.
The increase will be applied to the dependants allowance for spouse or first child; the allowance for subsequent children; and parents learning allowance. The estimated total annual increased cost of these changes is £168,000.
In addition Health Minister Robin Swann also confirmed that the mileage allowance for students on clinical placement would be increased by 5% to bring it into line with the current NICS public transport rate of 25.7p per mile.
Minister Swann said: “These moves are an effort to alleviate the impact of the current cost of living crisis on students on commissioned healthcare programmes.
“My Department has been aware of the increasing financial pressures facing students, particularly mature students with family responsibilities.
“I understand that these increases cannot address the current inflation levels and the general erosion in the value of bursaries but I am determined to do what I can within the limited means available to me at a time when the Department’s financial position is seriously constrained.”
The increases come into effect for the 2022/23 academic year.
The Minister also announced that he will be asking officials to commence work on a draft public consultation document reviewing the present bursary system
“Over recent years the Department has prioritised its limited budget in growing the number of nursing and midwifery training places.
“This has seen numbers of students rise by almost 90% since 2015/16.
“There is a clear identified need to further increase recurrent investment in the number of training and education places across the full range of healthcare professions.
“This is required to support commitments to secure safe staffing levels, reduce HSC’s use of agency and locum staffing and to facilitate the necessary transformation in the delivery of care.
“It is more important than ever that the system of nursing bursaries is placed on a sustainable footing over the long term. We need to ensure that the support provided is effective and affordable. I have therefore asked officials to commence work on bringing forward a draft public consultation document reviewing the present bursary system.”
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