International Nurses Day is due to be celebrated on the 12th May, and SNP MSP Emma Harper has received cross-party support for her motion celebrating the work of nurses, past and present, in our healthcare system.
There has been considerable focus on nursing within the NHS workforce as recent figures showed a considerable reduction in nursing applications in England, where the nursing bursary has been removed this year. The number of applications was reported to be down by 23% since the UK government abolished the scheme. Many nursing leaders have spoken out against the move, pointing out that nurses now face a £9,000/year cost of training in England.
In Scotland, where the bursary remains in place, there has been a fifth consecutive year-on-year increase in the number of applications to degree program training places in universities. Nursing degree programs are also free, as university tuition fees are funded by the Scottish Government.
The move by Scotland, to protect the nursing bursary, has been widely welcomed by nursing unions as a step in the right direction to addressing the issues around workforce management.
Emma Harper's motion will now be debated in the Scottish Parliament.