Final year medicine NHS bursary not enough

(42 Posts)
iabvvu Mon 11-Nov-19 20:07:21

Hi everyone, I'm new to the education topic so I'm not sure if this has been asked before. I also really don't want to sound like a princess - I know that many people are in much harder situations than myself. This is only temporary and I know how lucky I am to be in this position!

I'm in my final year of medicine which is funded by the nhs - my tuition is fully paid for and I get the maximum £394 per month plus non-means tested student finance loan. While I'm so grateful for the help I get, it really isn't enough to cover my living costs. After my commitments every month I'm left with under £200. This would probably be doable if it was just for food but I have multiple distant placements and have to do out of hours shifts so getting by without a car would be hugely difficult (and also expensive!). On my last 4 week placement I had to spend £40 on parking and petrol costs amounted to approx £90.

I've applied for my university hardship fund but they argued that I'm not an essential car user so they wouldn't take any car related costs into account. I really can't see how I'd get myself back from twilight shifts without a car. I think it would negatively affect my attendance on placement but maybe I'm being entitled?

My parents can't help me any more (they would love to if they could), I've maxed out my overdraft and minimised spending but I've reached the point at which I really can't see any other options. I'll finish my exams next May and start working next August (if I pass!) so there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel but I can't see how I'm going to through until then. I've had to completely stop socialising, Christmas presents are a myth this year and I'm living as frugally as possible day to day.

I've had a look for part time work but I can't see anything flexible enough at the moment. My timetable is different every week and the hours are long, I'm not sure how it would work but I'm willing to try.

My question is - has anyone else been in this situation/ had a DC in this situation and been unable to help? If so, what did you do?

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Mon 11-Nov-19 21:14:50

My dd is a year behind you but I am aware that next year will be tighter financially. I think she is already getting less this year than last but she worked a lot in the summer holidays.

To be honest, I am always surprised when students can afford to run a car (unless parents are funding). There is probably no point in getting rid of it now as you may need it for work next year but would you consider taking it off the road for a few months so you save on running costs? My dd has managed without one so far - she gets lifts from classmates if they are on the same placement (but gives them money towards the petrol) and has been able to stay in overnight hospital accommodation for the more distant placements.

In terms of boosting your income, providing you are not on a placement at weekends, even getting one weekend shift in a bar or restaurant would help (and would mean you wouldn’t be tempted to go out!). There might be scope to get extra shifts over the Christmas break.

iabvvu Mon 11-Nov-19 22:05:35

Thank you very much for replying.

I was expecting it to be tighter but not to this extent. I usually work during the holidays but between fourth and fifth year I had to do my elective over summer so that meant I couldn't work much. I stayed at home so did evening and weekend bar work and pet sitting but I felt completely burnt out and couldn't earn a great deal. Does your DD have her elective before or after final year?

I'm very lucky in that my parents bought me the car so I only need to pay the running costs but you're right it is expensive. I stay in hospital accommodation whenever I can (I'm there now!) but it's not always available and we're just expected to be able to get there and back. The problem is I am 'that' classmate who people rely on for lifts - they do pay me petrol money here and there. I looked at SORN-ing the car for a bit but public transport costs were about £12/day and my whole group would be left without a lift. I feel silly saying all of this, I know it's a first world problem but I do feel a bit stuck.

I will try to get some work over Christmas - maybe at home. I've got the SJT straight after Christmas which is a huge exam so will need to spend some time preparing for that but I do need to earn some money too.

Thanks again for the advice, good luck to your DD

OP’s posts: |
Decorhate Mon 11-Nov-19 22:28:51

My dd has her elective next summer so will possibly only be able to work for a month or so. Maybe ask your friends for a bigger contribution to lifts? Though I can understand that might be awkward, you are saving them time as well as money by taking them in your car! The only other things I can suggest are signing up with an agency for ad hoc bar work - so you are not committed to a regular slot or seeing if the bank will extend your overdraft, given that you will be a good customer in the long term.

Good luck with your exams!

Stupiddriver1 Mon 11-Nov-19 22:33:22

Can you sign up with the hospital bank as a hcsw? Super flexible.

RedHelenB Tue 12-Nov-19 12:59:27

Is it because your parents are expected to make je up the missing money that you're in difficulties? How are other students coping on your course?

peteneras Tue 12-Nov-19 13:32:22

Maybe get a bicycle, eh? My son's done more than his fair share of electives, placements, etc - you name it - all over the south and South East of England all on a bike!


GiantKitten Tue 12-Nov-19 13:36:00

& did he have “multiple distant placements”? hmm

OakleyStreetisnotinChelsea Tue 12-Nov-19 13:43:05

I've known a few medical students who do bank hca work, that way they can pick up shifts as and when to fit in with their timetables. It is ridiculous though that it isn't properly funded.

BlueCornsihPixie Tue 12-Nov-19 13:44:09

I was in the same position as you for my final year, theres quite a bit of reduction if you are on the full loan to the bursary.

I thought alongside your NHS bursary you could get help towards travel costs? You certainly could claim back travel costs to placement a few years ago. Make sure all the people relying on you for lifts are paying their fair share, including parking etc.

Your outgoings seem quite high for a student. Is there anything you could reduce? Or does that include food? I'm not sure I'll be of much help really. Same as you couldn't work the summer as we had exams. Fortunarly I had about 1000 saved up from previous years and this covered everything, with this it was certainly do able. I think most just go into their overdraft. Anyway you could just accept being overdrawn?

peteneras Tue 12-Nov-19 14:26:08

"& did he have “multiple distant placements”?"

If you're referring to me, let's just say he spent appx 70% to 80% of his final two years at med school outside of med school on placements! I only ever saw him coming back to med school once in the blue moon and that only for a week or so and he disappears again. Mind you, we can buy him even a new car and cover all the running costs but he simply refused. He prefers his bike even after med school and has just recently completed his F2 - all on his trusty ole' bike - what else?

Stupiddriver1 Tue 12-Nov-19 16:33:41

Depends on your deanary. Not unusual round here to travel 50 miles for placement. Hardly bikeable.

SarahMused Tue 12-Nov-19 16:43:43

Daughter is a final year medic. She bikes, uses public transport or lives in as she couldn’t afford to run a car. She can claim essential transport costs back and I thought that was standard. She works some weekends and evenings as a first aider at a large sports stadium which also hosts concerts and stuff. She signs up online for the shifts she can do. Worth a try if there is a venue near you. Speak to your bank they would probably extend your overdraft as you are near to qualifying.

Rosieposy4 Fri 22-Nov-19 21:19:15

Ditch the car, ds3 is a final year medic and manages with lifts and public transport, despite placements being an hour plus away. He also works as a hca for the hospital local to his uni at nights/ weekends. He is in the top decile nationally so it’s not hurting his academic success.

goodbyestranger Fri 22-Nov-19 21:28:25

Yes my DS worked too to help fund himself and that also hasn't harmed his ranking or prospects, evidently.

Lessstressy Fri 22-Nov-19 23:26:25

My DC is also an impoverished final year medic so I sympathise with your position.
Placement costs and associated travel should always be refunded so make sure you claim absolutely everything on time. I appreciate that it doesn’t help with the upfront costs but that MC at mean taking advantage of a 0% overdraft temporarily.
Don’t stress too much about the SJT- according to my DC, in reality, everyone scores within a very tight range and the main objective (along with anonymising applicants’ med schools) is to ensure an even spread of medics across a wide range of deaneries rather than allow those from the better medical schools to end up in the most popular areas (e.g. London) and students from the less well regarded schools to congregate in the least popular areas.
It won’t be long until you will be finally drawing a salary so a student overdraft may be your friend for a few months. My DC manages on £20 per week for food by bulk cooking. Don’t let money worries affect your studies.

Lessstressy Fri 22-Nov-19 23:28:36

Oh yes, I agree with PPs- my DC uses buses, trains and blahs lifts to their placements. Where there’s a will there’s a way and all that.

Perunatop Fri 22-Nov-19 23:39:50

Just claim your travel costs:
You will be earning a good salary next August so financial pressures will ease then.

SoxiFodoujUmed Sat 23-Nov-19 00:32:47

I think you need to be tougher with your classmates about contributing to car running costs. standard allowance for using a car for business is 45p per mile and petrol costs is only a small portion of that, it takes wear and tear and maintenance into account too. you need to calculate the real cost of running the car and be firm that no one gets a free ride any more. don't make a profit (that would invalidate your insurance which will say 'not for hire or reward') but ffs stop subsidising the freeloaders.

Emelene Sat 23-Nov-19 00:56:05

I'm a former medical student (graduated now) - I'd be honest with your group and say you are struggling to afford to keep the car. If they want a lift it will be x, as long as it is less than public transport they will probably say yes. Or say you'd be happy to give petrol costs to someone else if they will give you a lift.

Can you approach your pastoral tutor? You wouldn't want it to affect your studies and they may know of a discretionary fund. It is ridiculous that the university said you're not an essential car user.

The only other thing to mention is you will start work (induction) in the July and not get paid until end of August, having potentially relocated across the country and paid a deposit on accommodation etc. It is the most broke I have ever been at that point. So just bare in mind you may well need some cash around that time.

All the best xx

peteneras Sat 23-Nov-19 02:41:04

"Depends on your deanary. Not unusual round here to travel 50 miles for placement. Hardly bikeable."

Quite frankly, I cannot for the life of me, imagine how anyone who lives 50 miles away from their deanery gets to train as a doctor - someone obviously without the faintest of ideas which is to take the most obvious action like moving 50 miles to where your deanery is. I'm seriously beginning to feel sorry and worried for the future patients of such doctors.

randomsabreuse Sat 23-Nov-19 03:20:46

Deaneries aren't a fixed location- they're a group of hospitals covering a certain geographical area. In London they will be pretty small but in more rural parts of the UK they can easily be 50 miles across...

I live near Telford. We have medical students from Keele on placement at our local hospital. Keele is a good hour's drive and is not on the direct train line to either of the county hospitals- need to change to the infrequent local line to get there. As for the smaller local hospitals - one of them is not on a train line at all and the bus takes 1hr 10 from the 20 mile away train station.

Placements can be anywhere in the deanery, so could easily need to be in Stoke on Trent for one, Telford for the next and a random local GPs for the next.

One of the craziest things about the UK med training system is the constant need to move around with zero regard for practicalities like family, tenancies or transport integration

PyjamasForever Sat 23-Nov-19 03:40:18

@peteneras Deaneries can be huge. It's a 2.5hr drive (or 3.5hrs on trains) from one side of my deanery to the other. This meant as an fy2 doctor I had to move 2.5hrs away after 9.30pm on a Tuesday to start my new job at 8am on the Wednesday. It's really common for people to try to base themselves as centrally as possible so they don't have to move house for every job and can begin to build a life with some stability.

Tojigornot Sat 23-Nov-19 04:00:03

2 hours drive from one side of the deanery to the other here. Trains would take a lot longer.

Quite frankly, I cannot for the life of me imagine why someone who doesn’t know what a deanery is, is commenting on the thread.

wonkymonkey Sat 23-Nov-19 04:36:53

It might be worth looking into hiring your car out when you’re not using it. I think you can list when it’s available ad hoc, doesn’t have to be regular. That might depend on who you sign up with and will depend on how old your car is etc. Link here which lists a few options:
I hope you find a solution. Also, are there bursaries available from corporates such as pharmaceutical companies? No idea on this and realise it would take time to research which you might not have.

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