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11th January 2016

Student nurses and midwives march against bursary changes

Alongside national news of junior doctors’ strikes on Tuesday, student nurses and midwives also marched through Manchester, Newcastle and London to protest changes that will see bursaries replaced with loans

Student nurses & midwives have marched in London, Manchester and Newcastle in protest of proposals to replace NHS bursaries with loans.

On Saturday crowds of NHS staff, angered at plans revealed in the Chancellor’s November Spending Review to replace current bursaries with a repayable loan, gathered at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle, Market Street in Manchester, and St. Thomas’s Hospital London to march in protest.

In London, the demonstrators marched to Downing Street where a rally was held, with speakers including Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Janet Davies, who said: “Student nurses and midwives are the profession’s future, and their voices and concerns must and should be listened to.

“Over our 100-year history, the RCN has a long track record in the education of nurses and the government should listen to our knowledge and expertise as it consults on these ill thought out plans.”

In Manchester, protestors marched to Piccadilly Gardens and met with a group of junior doctors who had set up a “Meet The Doctors” event to try and raise awareness and understanding of their cause before they walk out on Tuesday.

According to the “Meet the Nurses & Doctors” Facebook page, the session was a chance for passers-by to  “Ask nurses why bursaries are so important; Ask doctors why the strikes are going ahead; Show support; [and] Share their ideas on how we can all save our NHS.”

Junior doctors will strike tomorrow after 98 per cent of the 45,000 balloted voted for industrial action. The walkout will last 24 hours and will be followed by a 48-hour strike on the 26th of January, and a nine-hour walkout on the 10th of February—during which all healthcare professionals including emergency will leave.

This comes in protest of contract changes which would increase the amount of time doctors must work without receiving overtime pay, leading to an overall cut in pay.

Manchester healthcare professionals will be at the picket line at the Manchester Royal Infirmary from 8am until midday.

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