Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Health
Health Services Staff
580. To ask the Minister for Health if all student occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and radiology students will be paid for the work they do in hospital and healthcare settings as part of mandatory placements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62817/21]
Across the health and social care disciplines, there are approximately 7,330 Health and Social Care Professional students in training who will, at different stages, require clinical placement in hospital and healthcare settings. The length of placements and the activities performed during these placements varies between disciplines. 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. This is a key part of the learning in all undergraduate programs.
There are only a small number of healthcare courses where the students receive allowances to support clinical placements during training. These allowances have been in place for a number of years and based on specific requirements of the individual training program. Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Radiography students similar to many other healthcare students do not receive an allowance to support time spent on clinical placements as part of their training.
Student Nurses and Midwives are an example of undergraduate students that do get support in the form of allowances associated with some clinical placements. The clinical hours component of undergraduate training for nurses and midwives is almost 50% of the course. Student nurses and midwives must undertake placements across a wide variety of care areas to fulfil course requirements and often these placements are away from their normal place of residence. In these instances, travel to, and alternative and additional accommodation to normal place of residence is required for a number of weeks. This is supported by an allowance towards the cost of additional accommodation. Additional support is being provided to student nurses and midwives needing overnight accommodation away from their normal place of residence in order to attend some of their clinical placements. This is a vouched system of support in place since 2004 and only applicable for some clinical placements.