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Student nurses repeat call for fair payment as Collins Report sent to Cabinet

The report compiled by Professor Tom Collins was to look at how student nurses should be paid for working during the Covid pandemic.

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STUDENT NURSES AND midwives have reiterated their calls for “fair remuneration”, as a report on their situation comes before Cabinet today.

The report compiled by Professor Tom Collins, the former chair of the Dublin Institute of Technology governing body, is expected to recommend that student nurses receive a pandemic grant of €100 a week during their unpaid placements in hospitals.

The Government could backdate this to September, and continue it for the rest of the academic year.

Nurses’ union the INMO has said previously that this €100 proposal “does not reflect Covid risks they face“. It has also said that the Covid threat they face now during the third wave is more severe than in December, when testimonies for the report were taken.

On Saturday night, the Government announced that placements due to begin this week for 1st to 3rd year students were suspended for two weeks, while final-year interns will continue to work for €10.70 per hour.

This was because nurses in teaching or supervising roles were to be redeployed to help tackle the Covid-19 surge Ireland is currently grappling with. 

The union said that some student nurses were frustrated and “furious” at the “last-minute decision”. Over 40 INMO student representatives met to discuss the suspension yesterday. The students expressed frustration at being “left up in the air”, facing uncertainty over the coming months.

They called on the Minister for Health to return to a scheme similar to that in March, which includes:

  • Offers of healthcare assistant contracts for all students whose placement is suspended
  • Moving interns up to healthcare assistant pay in recognition of their increased workloads and risk during the pandemic
  • Clarity on what will happen to placements over the coming months.

The report sent to Cabinet today is expected to recommend against healthcare assistant contracts for students whose placements have been suspended.

Ahead of the report going to Cabinet, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“There is still time for the Minister to do the right thing. Offer the students contracts as healthcare assistants to boost staffing and move up interns’ pay to reflect their new workloads and risks.

“Our student members… are thanked for their work so far, but the thanks ring hollow when their reasonable demands for fair remuneration go unanswered.
“Many students tell us that they want to make a direct contribution to the fight against Covid, and are seeking healthcare assistant contracts while their placements are suspended.

“Our interns rightly feel abandoned. They continue to work for miserly wages, facing increased workloads, huge Covid risks, and weakened support.“

With reporting from Christina Finn.

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