November 4, 2021
Health Minister’s action on student nurse and midwife pay does not go far enough – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has said that the actions brought forward by Minister Donnelly on student nurse and midwife pay do not go far enough; as it is not a long-term solution for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years.

He has called for the restoration of pre-cut intern pay to be backdated to October 2020, to bring this in line with pay restoration for other public sector pay workers.

Teachta Cullinane called on Minister Donnelly to put in place a permanent bursary scheme for student nurses and midwives of €3,000 which would be nearly double the existing pandemic €100/week payment for weeks on placement, which is currently only available to the end of this academic year.

He welcomed the moves to restore intern pay and a limited increase in the vouched accommodation allowance but said that the overall package falls far short of a fair allowance.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The Minister for Health’s proposals today on changes to allowances for student nurses and midwives fall far short of the mark.

“These proposals do not form the basis of a fair allowance by any means.

“The restoration of intern pay to pre-cut levels is welcome as is the minor increase in the vouched accommodation allowance however this should be backdated to October 2020 to reflect pay restoration more generally in the public service.

“However, the overall package does not do justice to the work that student nurses and midwives do, and it will not act as a morale booster to retain nurses and midwives who are graduating into full-time employment.

“They do not feel valued, and this announcement will be disappointing to many.

“The Minister should have pursued the INMO’s very reasonable proposal of a €3,000 bursary for student nurses and midwives with fair allowances to meet additional costs related to placements.

“The Minister’s proposal only goes halfway to meeting this, and the weekly allowance for unpaid clinical placements is only until the end of this academic year and covers 12-15 weeks on average.

“There will be no fair allowance available to future generations of student nurses and midwives for unpaid clinical placements under these proposals.

“A specific bursary for nurses and midwives would bring their grant scheme more in line with the NHS system in place in the North.

“Irish nurses and midwives will continue to leave shortly after graduation unless we treat them fairly while they are working as students.

“This is a key measure for addressing ongoing staffing concerns.”

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