Published Friday, 21 September 2012
A 15% cut in bursaries for nursing students still stands. (© Getty)
Earlier this month the Health Minister announced that annual bursaries for new students would be slashed by almost 15% from £6055 to £5165.
He also revealed that books and uniform allowances would be scrapped, but on Friday Edwin Poots said he had reversed that decision.
"I reviewed this decision in light of evidence that indicated the financial difficulties students this year would face," said Minister Poots.
But the reduction in the non-means tested bursary and a 5% increase in means tested allowances will still go ahead.
At the time of the announcement the President of the National Union of Students said the cash cuts were "catastrophic".
"This news is positive, however; this announcement must be viewed in the context of the other cuts in support being impose upon nursing and midwifery students," said Adrianne Peltz.
"The bursary is what the nursing students survive on, as they spend so much time on placement working in hospitals that it's virtually impossible for them to supplement their income.
"We believe that the bursary cuts could have an absolutely devastating impact on students. This announcement on allowances shows that the Minister is listening, and we will continue to press strongly against these cuts to try and push for further positive news for nursing and midwifery students."
Minister Poots said he made the change "after further examination of budget pressures".
"I remain committed to bringing quality nurses into the profession and my department invests around £35,000 in training each nurse," he added.