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Nicola Sturgeon confirms additional funding for nursing and midwifery students

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poses for a selfie with nursing and midwifery students during a visit to Edinburgh Napier University. (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poses for a selfie with nursing and midwifery students during a visit to Edinburgh Napier University. (Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

NICOLA STURGEON has announced an extra £3 million in support to help nursing and midwifery students with dependants.

The funding will help “up to 1,000 of our most in need students” who have children or family that depend on them, the First Minister said.

The Nursing and Midwifery bursary is also to be protected following a review with students, unions and professional bodies, while the number of Government-funded university places for those starting nursing and midwifery training will increase by 4.7% in 2017-18, bringing the total intake to 3,360 places.

The Dependants Allowance is to increase by £1,000 per year, with the current limit £2,640 for a spouse or cohabiting partner and the same amount for the first child where there is no dependent husband or wife.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Nurses and midwives play a vital role in Scotland – demonstrating amazing dedication, commitment and professionalism on a daily basis.

“While staffing in our NHS is at a record high, we know that as demand increases we must do more to build capacity into the future health and social care workforce.

“The improved financial support for students with responsibility for a child or a family member can help these students overcome some of the barriers to pursuing a career in nursing or midwifery and is based on what students have told us about the challenges they face.

“I also want to restate my commitment to protecting the non-means tested, non-repayable nursing and midwifery student bursary – something we believe is essential to ensuring a steady supply of trainees into the profession.

“This stands in stark contrast to the short-sighted actions of the UK Government, where free nursing tuition and bursaries have been removed entirely, with early indications showing this is impacting on the number of students applying.”

Other increases in financial support for the 2017/18 academic year include the Single Parents Allowance from £1,303 to £2,303 per academic year, and the Childcare Allowance to £2,466 per year.