A LiveableBursary for Medical Students

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Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) is supporting the #LiveableNHSBursary campaign

Student doctors in the penultimate two years of their training are only permitted to borrow a maximum of £6,458 to live on annually (This is a combination of Student Finance Loan (maximum £1975) and NHS Bursary (maximum £2,643 means tested, £1000 non means tested, plus £84 for 10 extra weeks – based on a 40 week term, living away from home, outside of London).

Final-year medical students should not be expected to live off £6,458 annually, while keeping up with full-time education. This means many students have to work as well as study, while living away from home and on medical school placement for 40 weeks a year. We are asking for this to change, so students are given equal opportunities, regardless of family and personal incomes.

We are asking for:

  1. Immediate access to full maintenance loans for medical students in line with other healthcare professional courses for the duration of the degree programme.
  2. Access to the NHS Learning Support Fund which is accessed by other healthcare professional students, replacing the standard medical student NHS bursary. This would enable all medical students to access £5000 non-means tested grant.
  3. A review of the Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses, so that fuel and accommodation reimbursements are reflective of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Follow the campaign on social media #LiveableNHSBursary 

TWEET your MP to ask them to support a #LiveableNHSBursary

Write to your MP to support a #LiveableNHSBursary

Use the letter template to send to your university if you are a medical student.

Don’t make medical students choose between the best learning and having enough to live on. Make this a #LiveableNHSBursary

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Media Coverage

The #LiveableNHSBursary campaign has raised a lot of media attention:

Sky News interviewed Anna Sigston, DAUK medical student lead, who said about the Bursary: “That figure makes non-students eligible for universal credit, so surely the government recognise this is not enough to live off?” . DAUK member Eilidh Garrett, in her third year of a four-year medical degree, told Sky News she has no parental support to rely on and is forced to spend long hours on part-time jobs as well as studying and working in NHS placements.

BBC national news reported on the campaign after DAUK member Trisha Suji spoke to BBC London about the harsh financial realities many medical students now have to face (also reported in the Chestnut Post).

The BMJ described the campaign and the BMA sent out a statement in support. The medical peer-to-peer site Medscape quoted Anna at length.

The Independent quotes DAUK student member Eilidh Garrett as she recounts how she is having the struggle to buy enough food, as does the Newcastle Chronicle.

LBC‘s Shelagh Fogarty covered the campaign and their Twitter feed lead with ‘we’re already burning people out before they’re even starting in the NHS’.

The HE policy platform Wonkhe fronted the story with the simple question, ‘Isn’t it time for a liveable NHS bursary?’. The communities website Chamber also covered the campaign.

The Oldham Times reported that Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams was going to speak to the Health Minister about the likelihood of one medical student being unable to complete their course because the level of financial support was inadequate.

Manchester University Students’ Union’s Mancunion site headlined with the powerful statement, ‘People would rather take a loan and be able to eat’.