More on Bursaries

Today The Guardian revealed leaked Department of Health documents which revealed that civil servants were giving health minister Jeremy Hunt the same advice and warnings about his plans to implement a “truly seven-day NHS” that junior doctors and others  were saying when they spoke at another health protest I photographed in January, against the plans to axe NHS bursaries for student nurses and others, and which I wrote about in a short and hurried post (I had a train to catch) a week or so ago.

The government responded to the leak by pretending that these documents were merely exploring a ‘worst case scenario’ but few if anyone could believe them. They expose a government misleading both public and parliament and pushing through their plans to privatise the NHS and enrich themselves and others with financial interests in private medical companies.

The NHS needs saving” say the lyrics held up as the National Health Singers performed the Junior Doctors Protest Anthem ‘Yours’ also needed quite a lot of saving in Lightroom. Of course I know that even with Nikon’s matrix metering a lot of bright sky is going to mean underexposure, and that with subjects in shade like both the words and the woman’s face I really needed to use some fill flash, or at least dial in a stop or two extra exposure. But working at speed I just took the picture and hoped I’d be able to fix it in post.

The version you see here was also produced in haste, wanting to get images online as soon as possible, and has the same Lightroom treatment as the larger file that went to Demotix on the day of the protest – but exported with a preset that cuts down image size and jpeg quality and adds my watermark (as you can see with the incorrect year.)  I’m sure I could return to the image and do a better job.

Among those supporting the students protesting against the planeed axing of the bursaries were trade unionists, including Len McClusky, General Secretary of Unite, here looking worried and standing next to a Unite flag, as well as many health professionals and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

But it was the student nurses, none of whom will personally be affected by the cuts, which will only apply to students starting on courses in future who are the organisers of the protest. They know how vital the bursaries are to themselves.

They also know – as do all who work in the NHS, that the NHS is already a “seven-day NHS” so long as patient care and junior doctors are concerned.  The government soundbite isn’t a sound basis for policy and changes whichNHS budgets can’t afford.

NHS Bursaries March
NHS Bursaries rally before march


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