MPs call on Government to cancel student nurse debt

More than 80 MPs have signed a letter calling on the Health Secretary to drop student debt for nurses as they endeavour to treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

MP for Luton North, Sarah Owen, addressed the letter to Matt Hancock and wrote that cancelling the debt would be an “important signal” to those starting their career that they are valued.

The letter is signed by 81 MPs, including Diane Abbott, Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips.

The public will once again clap for carers on Thursday night and Ms Owen argues the Government should reflect their gratitude.

“Over the last few weeks, we have seen the whole country united in our gratitude to those working night and day to keep our NHS going and look after our loved ones at this difficult time,” the letter states.

“If this coronavirus pandemic has proved anything, it is just how much we owe to those in the health service who are there for us when we need them most.”

Health Education England announced that in response to the crisis 5,553 students from 35 universities had been signed up to a paid placement as of Friday, the letter continues.

This will involve rearranging their studies.

This is “testament to the hard work and sense of duty” that those NHS staff feel, states the letter, “especially during these unprecedented times”.

“Therefore, we are calling on the government to support these new nurses by cancelling the student debt they have incurred throughout their studies,” the letter states.

“In future it would be a real sign of permanent change from the Government if we could see that every nurse left their training and education without any debt but right now, student nurses are risking their own health to help care for people during the crisis in really difficult circumstances, managing unprecedented demand and often without the correct protective equipment.

“Cancelling this debt, as a first step, for this group of hardworking nurses would be an important signal to those starting their careers during the crisis that they are valued, not just by the public and their patients, but by their government as well.”

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