Michael Dugher, Barnsley East MP, has called on the Government to drop its plans to abolish bursaries for student nurses and midwives.
All NHS bursaries are due to be scrapped from August in a move that could leave students paying tuition fees of more than £9,000 and forced to rely on student loans.
But Mr Dugher is fighting the planned move, which he warned would only worsen the recruitment crisis which had meant Barnsley Hospital and others were forced to rely on agency nurses to plug staffing gaps.
He is backing a Labour campaign that has called for a Government U-turn over the plan to abolish the bursaries later this year.
Latest figures show that students are already avoiding nursing degrees because of the extra financial burden on them. Almost 10,000 fewer would-be nurses have applied for university courses – 23 per cent fewer than last year.
Said Mr Dugher: “The latest figures show there has already been a big drop in the number of people applying to become nurses. Worried constituents have also contacted me about the impact that cutting bursaries will have.
“That should be a wake-up call to the government which needs to rethink these flawed plans to abolish bursaries.
“We have seen the huge pressure that the NHS is under in Barnsley with a big increase in A&E waiting times and this misguided decision will just make matters worse.
“With Britain leaving the EU, we will need home-trained nurses more than ever. But the government’s decision to charge student nurses is likely to worsen the staff shortages already faced by many hospitals.”