NHS bursary for hygiene and therapy students to be stopped

NHS Bursary

The government has announced plans to stop the NHS bursary for dental hygiene and therapy students

The government has announced plans to stop dental hygiene and therapy students of an NHS bursary.

Dental therapists, hygienists, nurses, midwives and other Allied Health Professionals are funded through the NHS scheme, which offers living cost and student tuition fee support, however the government have plans to replace this with full student loans from September 2017.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has slammed the idea claiming it would deter students from less privileged backgrounds undertaking the degree.

‘The abolition of the NHS bursary is bad news for dentistry and for all dental professionals,’ Paul Blaylock, chair of the BDA’s Students Committee, said.

‘Dental hygienists and therapists are instrumental in delivering treatment, prevention and healthcare education to patients.

‘The government says prevention and public health require a “radical upgrade”, yet this cut is an entirely retrograde step, that would deliver no savings and simply serve to undermine dental teams.

‘Dentists stand with all our healthcare colleagues in opposition to a cut that could jeopardise patient care, and exclude talented people from the health professions simply because they lack the means.’

NHS Five Year Forward View

The BDA has claimed that this move could threaten the delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View.

It has joined with leaders from 19 other health care trade unions, charities and professional colleges to call on the government to halt the plans to reform student funding.

At present over 2,500 dental therapists and over 6,500 hygienists are registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the BDA believes these reforms will be extended to funding systems for student medics and dentists.


  1. 1

    I think it’s valid and for too long therapists and hygienists have got away with not paying any fees. A good number get a high standard of training. These trainees work and train along with dental students who have to work extremely hard to gain a space at university with large amounts of tuition& living costs. Fully support bursaries for midwives and nurses as they often are in cooperated in to the NHS system. The dental therapists/ hygienists go on to work privately with no obligation/ time limit to work in the national health service. Understandably there was a time when a bursary for this branch of dentistry was required. There was also a time in the UK when all degrees were paid for by the government. I think it’s time to be realistic and like other degrees they too need to pay. The argument of those from less privileged backgrounds will be deterred is weak. If there was a really bright individual who could achieve 3A stars at a level – suitable to apply for dentistry, would they be encouraged to choose dental therapy as it’s paid for or dentistry? If it’s the former then there is a serious problem in the system and a loss of talent. Like any other degree individuals are mean-tested so should dental therapists and hygienists.

  2. 2

    I hope this course is going to be covered by nhs bursary again. Many people applying for therapy and hygiene course are mature students, often with kids already. There’s no way to budget student loan in already weak household income.

  3. 3

    As I have previously said in comments this will destroy the skills escalator for prospective dental nurses and hygienists wanting to advance in their careers. NHS bursaries made it both practical and affordable for people considering a total career move or advancement. I really feel the new full student loans may deter the ‘right’ people from studying in HE.

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