News & Media

Concerns of student nurses must be taken seriously by Government

18 February 2021

Statement by Senator Annie Hoey
Spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

In advance of debating the Labour Party Student Nurses (Pay) Bill to end the exploitation of student nurses and midwives, Senator Annie Hoey has called for Government to take action and pay our students. 

Senator Hoey said:

“We were so disappointed to hear of the cynical move by the Government to let this Bill pass but not take any actual action to improve the situation for our student nurses and midwives. It’s time to for parties to put their money where their mouth is and instead of clapping for our student nurses and midwives actually pay them.

“My Bill would ensure that student nurses and midwives would get the same rate as a healthcare assistant. They have been to the forefront of protecting us throughout this pandemic, and the very least the Government could do is pay them.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with responses to my call for personal experiences from the frontlines. Students were deployed to fight this virus and while the Government did pay them this rate during the first wave, they are working during the much more aggressive second and third wave free of charge. These students take on the same workload as a nurse, while still balancing learning the skills on the ground.

“As well as being totally wrong, I’m really concerned that a lack of pay is a barrier to students considering a career in nursing and midwifery. Students don’t have the time or energy to do part-time work to support themselves whilst on placement, yet the Government still expect them to afford astronomical rents in the cities and the daily cost of living.

“We had more cases of Covid-19 in the month of January than we did in all of 2020, and our student nurses and midwives worked stoically for free throughout this time. While the Pandemic Placement Grant of €100 per week is in place, it is an insult and does not reflect the extreme conditions faced by our students.

“I’m calling on the Government to step up to the plate and do the right thing. Our student nurses and midwives are currently working for free and the Government has the power to change that by supporting and taking action on my Bill.”