SIPTU representatives have today (Sunday, 17th January) said the lack of consultation surrounding the decision by health minister, Stephen Donnelly, to suspend student placements will only deepen the serious crisis in the health service. SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “SIPTU representatives have been inundated with calls from members who received calls late last night informing them that their placement was suspended. They expressed their frustration over this sudden change in policy and the potential impact it will have on the provision of essential health care. Members are furious over the stunning lack of proper consultation and say this decision will only deepen the crisis in the health service for students and health care staff working on the frontline. Students are rightly worried about their status and how this decision will impact on their training. They and other health workers across the service are also deeply concerned about the ramifications this may have on patient care.” He added: “SIPTU representatives have for weeks been demanding that all students on clinical placements throughout the Covid-19 crisis including nurses, midwives and radiographers are recognised and paid for their essential, frontline work.”