Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

08.30 17 Jan 2021


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Clinical placements for nursing and midwifery students have been suspended for at least two weeks.

The HSE made the request to the Department of Health to free up qualified supervisory staff to help with the COVID-19 response.

The Department says the suspension of all unpaid placements for students in their first to third years will start on Monday.

Fourth-year students will continue their placements with appropriate supervision, it said.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly thanked all student nurses and midwives "for their ongoing commitment to the future of our health services".

He added this is "an uncertain time for them" and reassured students that "all options will be considered in re-starting these placements as soon as it is possible”.

Rachel Kenna, Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health, said: “The education of student nurses and midwives is a priority for all of us, but this must be done safely, with the appropriate supports and supervision structures in place.”

Call for further clarity

However, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is seeking clarity over final year students, who will continue to work over the coming two weeks.

The union wants their pay increased to the healthcare assistant grade, as it was in March.

The INMO added that this would better reflect the workload and risk those final-year interns face and they need to be valued properly.

“This is a last-minute decision and further clarity is needed. Students have been put in incredibly risky situations with no pay and weakened protections," INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.

“Those interns who are being asked to continue working need to be valued properly.

"Earlier in the pandemic, their pay was increased to take account of the risks and workload they faced. The Minister should do the right thing and reinstate that policy.”

Last month, a report prepared for the Government recommended a grant of €100 per week for student nurses, on top of the existing allowances for travel and accommodation.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

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