Have nurses won or lost out from the budget update?

by Chris Lewis

With Mr Osborne delivering his Autumn Budget yesterday, you would be forgiven in thinking that it was good news for the NHS.

So what has he promised to the NHS?

• £3.8 Billion will be injected soon
• The NHS money is ‘protected’ ensuring no cuts to the budget
• The NHS would need an increase of £8 Billion a year up to 2020 as a minimum

So why is George Osborne coming under criticism for seemingly pumping money into the NHS?

With the threat of strike action from Junior Doctors, as well as ongoing worries of the privatisation, this news on the face of it would be encouraging for the future of one of our oldest and greatest institutions.

Many would say that the money being re-distributed into the NHS would actually take money away from important areas of healthcare such as Social Care, Nurse Training budgets and care at home initiatives. Based on this, it would seem that the ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ approach that George Osborne is taking would benefit many people, but also lead to a lack of new nurses, an increase in patient care time in hospital and a slide on the amount of social schemes in the community.

The most distressing news to come from the budget from an NHS perspective was the scrapping of the £6,000 a year grant for student nurses, the argument being that the money should alternatively be spent on increasing nurse wages.

The argument being:

‘If the wages are not high enough, they will never pay the loans back?’


‘If new nurses cannot afford the study, are we going to run out of nurses?’

Wherever you stand on this argument, leading up to 2020 seems to be a crucial time for the future of the NHS and the future of our nurses. Could we be overreacting and being influenced by a media campaign again Osborne? Or is the NHS truly in a state of crisis?

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