SIPTU representatives have called for more support for student nurses and midwives than the recommendations outlined in a Short Term Review of Clinical Placement Allowances published yesterday (Monday, 4th January) by the Department of Health. SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “The recommendations do not go far enough in addressing the concerns of our members who are providing vital health services during the pandemic. While the review does contain some positive recommendations, including the establishment of a new pandemic placement grant, the proposal that it should amount to a payment of €100 a week falls well short of what is needed. The report also does not offer anything in the short term for fourth year nursing and midwifery students. “Several other issues highlighted by SIPTU members are also not dealt with in the recommendations. These include the need to extend the practice of offering temporary health care assistant contracts to student nurses and midwives. The review does note that the government has the option of repeating this approach, which was done in 2020, if it chooses. SIPTU is calling on the government to implement this option as it provides students with the protections of existing employment rights as well as dealing with the financial challenges they may face during the pandemic. “The review also does not recommend an increase in the existing allowance for student nurses and midwives of €50.79 a week for accommodation and travel. This payment is inadequate during the current pandemic.” He added: “SIPTU representatives fully support the demand for the recognition of the role undertaken by all students within the health system during the pandemic. We believe a further review should encompass other grades of students within the health service who are facing similar difficulties while providing vital care and services during the pandemic.”