Medical students have launched the ‘Liveable NHS Bursary’ campaign on Twitter following an onslaught of posts about the financial struggles faced by students.
The posts featured students’ experiences such as being unable to pay rent, overworking in order to stay afloat financially, and burning out.
NHS Bursary ‘Unacceptably Low’
The British Medical Association deemed the NHS bursary provided to medical students as ‘unacceptably low.’
Khadija Meghrawi, co-chair of the BMA medical students committee said: ‘We are a nation in desperate need of more doctors and to grow a medical workforce that is both fit for the future and is reflective of the population that it works to treat, the government must provide adequate financial support to medical students.’
The Department of Health and Social Care told Sky News they are supporting medical students in England across all years of study but will be keeping funding arrangements for all healthcare students under review.
A Liveable NHS Bursary
In the first four years of their studies, undergrad medical students are entitled to the same amount of funding as other students, which is up to £12,382 in London.
The NHS bursary provides eligible full-time undergraduate students with a non-means-tested grant of £1,000 and a means-tested grant of up to £3,191 for those living in London in their fifth and sixth year of study for the first 30 weeks of the year.
‘The more realistic timetable currently is: placement all day, come home eat and spend the evening studying for exams. Spend all weekend at work to be able to afford rent and food. And repeat. And we wonder why medical students have such high rates of burnout?’ one student shared
Medical students can also receive a reduced maintenance loan from Student Finance England in their fifth and sixth year.
The BBC explained that this means that medical students living away from home in the capital will see their income drop to a maximum of £8,625 per academic year in their final two years when they spend most of their time on placement.
One student took to Twitter to write: ‘We are burnt out before we even start in an underfunded, overstretched and undervalued doctor workforce. Retention begins at medical school, #LiveableNHSBursary is a key part of retention – alongside #PayRestoration.’
Another said: ‘The (un) #LiveableNHSBursary is probably going to mean I have to turn down an opportunity to present my research at an international conference. A presentation that might give me “points” for future job applications. If this is essential for a job then fees must be accessible!’