28 Jun 2022

'It is an industrial relations issue' - Varadkar speaks amid student nurses protest today

12.5% increase for student nurses on internship, says Varadker

12.5% increase for student nurses, says Varadker

Student nurses and midwives held a demonstration outside Leinster House today and protested pay and conditions for student nurses.

At present, students completing their clinical placement from years 1-3 and the first semester of year 4 receive a weekly accommodation allowance of €50.79 per week and reimbursement of their travel costs. 

Nurses who begin their 36-week internship in the second semester of fourth year receive an annual salary of €21,749-€22,249.

Leo Varadker said it is the governments' policy to protect and support the continued education of all students, including student nurses and midwives.

A longer-term review of student nurse and midwives' allowances and internship pay has been conducted by Sean McHugh, and Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly will outline his plan regarding the report shortly, according to the Tanaiste.

The McHugh report was an independent report conducted by Mr. Sean McHugh, who looked at issues of allowances and pay for student nurses and midwives.

Leo Varadker said he understands the plan will propose a 12.5% increase in payment for student nurses and midwives during their internship year and a continuation of the pandemic placement grant.

He said there will be engagement between the Minister for Health and the HSE with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and SIPTU Health on the issue of pay for student nurses. 

"It is an industrial relations issue and it is appropriate to have further engagement." added the Tanaiste. 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called on the Minister for Health to provide the independent report to the INMO on behalf of student nurses and midwives.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: "The Minister has had the McHugh Report into student nurses and midwives pay and conditions on his desk for nearly three months and only for the fact that student nurses and midwives were taking to the streets today have we seen leaks of the report."

Ms. Ní Sheaghdha said: "How the Government treats student nurses and midwives who are scrubbing into work in these extremely difficult times for our health service will have a lasting impact on the recruitment and retention of nurses into the future.

"We cannot have our young nurses and midwives in training believe that their only option for decent treatment is to travel abroad."

The INMO said today’s demonstration is not just about the pay and conditions for student nurses and midwives – it is about the future of our healthcare system.

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