Peter Lilley took part in a debate in the House of Commons last week on the future of NHS bursaries. He supported the Government’s move to replace bursaries with loans so that the cap on nurses being trained in this country could be abolished.
Peter said: “The local health service is full of praise for nurses trained at the University of Hertfordshire – they are well-trained, highly motivated, and make excellent nurses. The only problem is that they don’t produce enough. That is not because of a shortage of applicants – the university turns away three quarters of those who apply. Because nurse training, unlike other university departments, is financed by the NHS, there has been a strict limit on the number of places. I’m delighted that the government is now addressing the problem.
“I’m agnostic as to whether the move from bursaries is the best way, and clearly if nurses do take out loans we will have to persuade them to do so and enable them to repay.”
Mr Lilley described how he had first become concerned about Britain’s failure to train enough nurses when he discovered we were recruiting so many nurses from Africa, at one time denuding sub-Saharan Africa of up to 1 in 8 of their nurses. Peter said: “That is morally wrong.”