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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 July 2006, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Nursing students in protest rally
Health student protest in Canterbury
Student nurses are struggling to find jobs after graduating
Hundreds of trainee nurses have been protesting about the freeze on NHS recruitment across the South East.

They estimate that only 20% of healthcare students are likely to find employment due to lack of funding.

Students have said more nurses are badly needed, and many from Canterbury Christ Church University were among those gathered in the city on Saturday.

Students' union president, Richard Budden, said: "There is a real danger people will die if this continues."

Canterbury Christ Church University enrols about 900 health students a year.

The East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust, which has sites in Canterbury, Margate, Ashford, Dover and Folkestone, has already admitted there are not as many posts available.

This is a political situation, and it's the government that needs to be called to account
Lesley Long, Royal College of Nursing

It has previously said it was looking to make savings of 35m by closing beds and reducing the length of time patients stay in hospital.

Lesley Long, of the Royal College of Nursing, who attended Saturday's protest, said she feared students' training "could go to waste".

"This is a political situation, and it's the government that needs to be called to account.

"The trusts at the moment are fighting to keep the people who are employed, employed - they have no more money and therefore it's the government's ridiculous, draconian measures that have stopped them allowing students in," Ms Long said.

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