Fair pay needed to repay “trojan sacrifice” of student nurses and midwives

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LIMERICK Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has called on the government to urgently deliver a fair pay allowance for student nurses and midwives.

Yesterday, Sinn Féin brought forward a motion in the Dáil, to commit the government to delivering this. The motion was tabled by Quinlivan’s party colleague David Cullinane, who called the work of student nurses and midwives the “trojan sacrifice of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Speaking on the motion Deputy Quinlivan said: “We must support our student nurses and midwives by ensuring they get a fair pay allowance now. They do highly skilled and important work on the frontline, yet still aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Student nurses and midwives here in Limerick and across the state have shown extraordinary dedication in caring for our communities in extremely challenging times.”

The Limerick City TD continued: “At the University Hospital Limerick, the staff are faced with the dual challenges of overcrowding and capacity limitations. The nurses I have spoken to have told me of the valuable work that these student nurses did in the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Their efforts went above and beyond what should be expected of a trainee. We should not forget that during the height of the pandemic health staff were unvaccinated, patients were isolated and often their only contact and support were from those brave nurses and student nurses that cared for them.

“The government has paid lip service to this issue but failed to deliver. It isn’t good enough. Actions speaker louder than words. Payment for student nurses is a litmus test of this government’s recognition of the contribution of those who worked in our health system throughout the pandemic. It tells us so much about what this Government stands for and whose side they are on.”

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Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said how acutely aware he is to the matter, having brought in the “recommended specific pandemic payment grant of €100 per week of supernumerary placement, which could also be backdated for the start of the academic year.”

The Minister added: “I agree with his recommendation to increase the pay of interns. I intend to extend payment of the pandemic placement grant. I will also be supporting additional recommendations that were made in the report and will be requesting Cabinet approval for increased financial supports to this end.”