SIPTU representatives have today (Friday, 5th February) written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, seeking an emergency meeting in order to address serious concerns and challenges raised by student radiographers on clinical placement during the pandemic. SIPTU Industrial Organiser, John McCamley, said: “The present situation is completely unsustainable. It is scandalous that up to 400 student radiographers are making an essential contribution on the frontline and are not being recognised for their work. The reality is that clinical placements involve direct patient care and assisting qualified radiographers in X-ray departments and theatres in hospitals. At present, student radiographers are being asked to put themselves at great risk for no reward. “Student radiographers can also be deployed to any hospital across the country. This has resulted in some students paying for additional accommodation while on clinical placement with no option but to continue to pay rent for their regular accommodation close to the college.” He added: “The pandemic has exacerbated these problems. Due to fears of cross-contamination, lockdowns and public health restrictions many students are unable to earn any income by working part-time, causing them further financial difficulties. Student radiographers with no choice but to self-isolate have to make up the time later in the year. They are not entitled to sick pay or any of the other protections enjoyed by directly employed staff even though they face many of the same challenges and risks as other frontline workers.”