Tonight, in a sign of how stretched the health service has become, the Department of Health announced that placements for over 2.000 student nurses and midwives were being temporarily suspended.
he move is aimed at facilitating the return of qualified nurses and midwives who had supervising the students to the frontline.
The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has authorised the ending of the current placement arrangements for student nurses and midwives across the country for at least two weeks.
The situation is expected to be reviewed again towards the beginning of February.
The Department of Health said on Saturday night that the HSE had sought that experienced and qualified staff who currently supported undergraduate training for students in Years 1-3 of their courses be released for redeployment as part of the Covid-19 response.
“In light of this development, all clinical placements for student nurses and midwives in Years 1-3 will be suspended for a period of least two weeks from January 18th, 2021, as there will be no educational and support infrastructure for them while in the clinical learning environment.”
They added: “This is an evolving situation and is under constant review in the context of the current COVID-19 demand trajectory.”
The Department said fourth years on placement would not be impacted.
Minister Donnelly thanked the student nurses and midwives for their commitment, saying: “This is an uncertain time for them and I know many will be disappointed by this news. I would like to reassure them that all options will be considered in re-starting these placements as soon as it is possible.”
Phil Ní Sheaghdha, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation General Secretary, has said: “This is a last-minute decision and further clarity is needed. Students have been put in incredibly risky situations with no pay and weakened protections.
“Those interns who are being asked to continue working need to be valued properly. Earlier in the pandemic, their pay was increased to take account of the risks and workload they faced. The Minister should do the right thing and reinstate that policy.”
Source: Irish News