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INMO says student nurses and midwives are exploited by HSE during the Pandemic

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claimed that student nurses and midwives are being exploited by HSE during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The union argues that students in placements in hospitals across Ireland are at higher risk for COVID, but that they have to work as unpaid staff.

Students may not be able to work as care assistants during their studies due to the risk of infection when working in a care home or entering a hospital. They have also suffered a loss of income as well, the union said.

They say the HSE plan to pay healthcare assistant salaries to students was implemented at the beginning of the pandemic in March, but has not been implemented. The union further said that they had held a meeting with the health department officials yesterday, but no decision has been taken so far.

Prior to the final year internship, most student nurses and midwives received either nothing or an allowance of just €50.79 per week.

However, INMO is now demanding that the payment plan, which was decided in March, be re-introduced immediately and that student allowances be significantly increased.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said that, “Our students are being taken for granted. They are facing huge workloads and risking Covid infection. And while they are doing indispensable work, they are getting no financial recognition for their efforts.”

However, the Department of Health said it was currently dealing with trade unions in proposals to renew short-term student nurse allowances.

The department has expressed its support for revising these allowances, following the impact of Covid-19 on student nurse placements. The department also said it would take steps to protect the education and welfare of student nurses at the present time.

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