Student nurses should be paid €100 per week during pandemic, report recommends

INMO rejects Government review of student nurses pay as too little too late

INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said student nurses and midwives had done ‘incredible work on the frontlin’  and had engaged in good faith in the process. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said student nurses and midwives had done ‘incredible work on the frontlin’ and had engaged in good faith in the process. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Student nurses should receive a payment of €100 per week after tax when they are on hospital placements during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report recommends.

The grant would be paid to students while the pandemic continues and would cost €5.4 million if backdated to September.

The issue of paying student nurses became a live one towards the end of last year with opposition politicians saying that student nurses, who have risked their health working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic, should be paid.

The recommendation is contained in a review commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by Professor Tom Collins.

He was appointed by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in November to look at the issue of student nurses pay. A further long-term review will take place in January or February.

The money will be paid on top of existing payments per travel and accommodation along with SUSI grants or pandemic unemployment payment had the nurses received it.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) criticised the report and said it was too little too late for students.

Instead, it recommended that students be paid a healthcare assistant rate of pay (€11.93 an hour) something which was done earlier in the pandemic.

Student representatives, who met on Monday evening, said the report “does not reflect the high-Covid risk Irish hospitals now pose, nor the work they will be asked to do in the coming weeks and months.

“The report does not address any issues for final year interns and proposes a €100 per week temporary grant for those students on placement.”

The union has sought an meeting with Mr Donnelly to discuss the current situation faced by nursing and midwifery students.

INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said student nurses and midwives had done “incredible work on the frontline” and had engaged in good faith in the process.

They were “deeply disappointed” in the report which she added was already obsolete and “no longer reflects the risk or work that students will be taking on in the coming weeks.

“It’s time for the minister to do the right thing. He should pay students the healthcare assistant rate of pay - something which was done earlier in the pandemic.

“This would better reflect the work and risks students are undertaking in Covid-intensive hospitals.”

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