Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health
HSE Winter Plan: HSE
I raised the issue of student nurses last week. We have been banging this drum for quite some time and the issue has been raised here. There is a lot of commentary along the lines that this issue must go to the Department of Health or that it must go back and forth. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, INMO, has said that it has been in discussion with the Department of Health but there does not appear to be any movement on this issue. I am being contacted by student nurses who are getting more and more distressed about the situation. As was rightly pointed out, it is not just about student nurses but all healthcare workers in training. Could someone offer some commentary? Do the witnesses believe student nurses and other healthcare workers in training should be paid for their time, for example, that on a sliding scale, as is done for other professions in training? We see that with gardaí and apprenticeships. Do the witnesses think they should be paid because nobody is giving an answer? I think they should be paid and the nurses and students in training think they should be paid. If these student trainees were taken out of the system, would the system be able to function? If student nurses were taken off the wards today, would the wards be able to function? If that is the case, is it not right that they should be paid? If they are paid a vital role in our healthcare system, be it in radiology or other areas, should they not be remunerated for doing that or is it seen as reasonable to expect them to do it without any pay?