Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Department of Health
1356. To ask the Minister for Health if consideration is being given to the development of allowances to support radiography students through their placements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14041/21]
Radiography students do not receive an allowance to support time spent on placement as part of their course and there are no plans to change this.
I can confirm that in 2020, assistant radiographers were employed on a 3 month contract following completion of their final year clinical placement, subject to the needs of the Health Service. As their skills were identified as being required during the COVID-19 response and subject to the needs of each acute hospital, they were offered a temporary 3 month assistant radiographer role following successful completion of their 7 week final year clinical placement. The 3-month period commenced on 18 May 2020.
It should be noted that across the health and social care disciplines, there could be over 8,000 students on placement in hospital and healthcare settings. Of this number, around a third are final year students. The length of placements and the activities performed during these placements vary between the disciplines. These students are not employees and in many cases the nature of the placement can, in the main, be limited to participation in an observing and a learning capacity.
Uniquely for student nurses and midwives there is, in the final year, a paid salary when they are specifically employed on an internship placement. Student nurses and midwives’ final year internship placement consists of a continual 36-week rostered clinical placement, including annual leave. The internship placement is a paid placement as the student nurses and midwives take a reduced caseload. During these placements, students are under supervision and are considered as 0.5 WTE of the workforce. In addition, Intern students can be allocated across all shift patterns including nights, weekends and 12-hour days.
Student nurses and midwives undertaking unpaid supernumerary clinical placement as students are currently in receipt of an allowance. Again, given the unique requirements of these training programmes attendance at many placement sites is required, some of which are at a distance to base training hospital and the current allowance is to contribute to the cost of alternative accommodation / travel.