A damning report by the North Devon Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee has flagged up the problems faced by the NHS in North Devon and identified that one of the solutions would be to reintroduce Nursing Bursaries. This was a key pledge in the Liberal Democrat Manifesto of 2017, after the Conservatives scrapped them as part of their ideologically driven austerity measures.
The Committee was advised by the representative from Devon Partnership Trust that the withdrawal of nursing bursaries had impacted upon recruitment for educational progress and that currently 20 members of staff were undertaking qualifications in nursing. The Chief Executive of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust added that there were 45 places for nursing qualifications available each year and that with 35 employees enrolled for the current year, the Trust was feeling the impact of the withdrawal of the bursaries. The feedback that the Trust had received from employees indicated that training closer to home was an important factor.
Kirsten Johnson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for North Devon says: ”This is clear evidence, from the heart of the NHS in North Devon, that the short sighted decision by the Conservatives in Westminster, supported by the current Conservative MP for North Devon, to withdraw these bursaries, is having an impact on nursing provision here. The Liberal Democrats have campaigned nationally and locally to have the bursaries reinstated so that the people of North Devon can be cared for properly by the NHS. We will continue this campaign as part of our “North Devon Deserves Better” initiative, both in Parliament and in North Devon, where we have overwhelming public support and the evidence to support it.”