Lowry has good good news for student nurses following his appeal

Noel Dundon

Reporter:

Noel Dundon

Email:

nd@tipperarystar.ie

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Good news could be on the way for student nurses

Department of Health is looking to revise the situation

Following ongoing representations and a strong appeal to Tanaiste Leo Varadkar in the Dail on behalf of student nurses and midwives, who feel ‘forgotten and disrespected by Government’, Deputy Lowry has been informed that the Department of Health is currently considering proposals to revise their situation.

At present, 1st, 2nd and 3rd years Students Nurses and Midwives receive no financial recognition for the role they are playing on the frontline of the Covid-i9 battle.

However, following his representations on their behalf, Deputy Lowry was informed that the Department is revising their the existing Student Nurses and Midwives allowances for clinical placements in the short term, to support them financially with their ongoing training. The Department expects to conclude this process in the coming days and the revision will also include measures that will protect Student Nurses and Midwives education and welfare during this present time.



Deputy Michael Lowry

In his address to the Dail, Deputy Lowry said that Irish people will see this Lockdown through for the safety of our citizens. ‘Nowhere will that be more evident than in our hospitals’

‘Hospital staff at all levels will rise to the challenge. No matter how deep they have to dig they will find it within themselves to go the extra mile. Each and every one of them.

Therefore, Tanaiste, when one hears words such as ‘Disheartenment’ , ‘discouragement’ , ‘disappointment’, ‘dismay’, ‘anger’ and ‘injustice’ coming from any group within our healthcare system we need to listen. We need to listen closely and attentively. Even more so, we need to respond’

‘These words capture some of the emotions being felt by Student Nurses and Midwives at this time at the news from the INMO that no progress has been made by the Government on the issue of paying members for their work. These students have long felt that they have been taken for granted and exploited for the work that they carry out in hospitals and services across Ireland. These feelings are mounting. There are few that could disagree with them’ said Deputy Lowry.

‘Tanaiste, I could speak on behalf of these student healthcare workers. However, I feel that their own words reflect very accurately how they are feeling at this time. These are the words of just two such student nurses from the many representations I have received since the start of this pandemic’ he said

‘One has written “We, the Student nurses and Midwives of Ireland, are taking to the frontlines this year as part of our college placement and while doing so, are risking not only ourselves, but also other family members to COVID-19 infection. Yet we are still being asked to pay fees of €3,500 per year. In fact, for some students this figure is actually €7,106 per year.”

Another student Midwife recounts how “Healthcare Assistants earn more money than us. How is that fair? This is not undermining the work of Healthcare Assistants but we are doing the same job with greater responsibilities. Why don’t we get paid?”

‘These students say they feel forgotten and disrespected by Government and they are pleading to have their voices heard. While nursing is considered to be a labour of love, this, unfortunately, will not pay the bills’ concluded Deputy Lowry.