All eligible trainee nurses and midwives will continue to receive free tuition and the student bursary, the centenary congress of the Royal College of Nursing has been told.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scottish Ministers are taking the opposite view to the UK Government, who plan to abolish the nursing bursary, in attracting and retaining a high calibre nursing workforce. She also confirmed the discretionary hardship fund for nursing and midwifery students, which provides additional support for those who need it most, will be in place for this academic year.

In welcoming this announcement Falkirk West MSP said:
“I very much welcome this announcement by the First Minister. The Scottish Government have already invested heavily in the health and care workforce in the last nine years and wish to build on that success. Under this Scottish Government the number of staff working in our NHS reach a record high, having increased by almost 11,400, including more than 2,300 extra qualified nurses, which I know is welcomed by the people of Falkirk district.

“I also welcome the previous announcement to create an extra 1,000 student training places.

“Unlike the UK Government, I recognise the role and contribution of student nurses and the demands they face, and that is why I am delighted that the Scottish Government has confirmed its commitment to retaining the nursing and midwifery bursary and free tuition fees in Scotland, which will assist greatly local nursing students.