Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (490, 545, 551, 562, 565, 665)

John Lahart

Question:

490. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a pandemic-related payment that in 2020 was awarded to fourth year radiography students is no longer being offered to current students (details supplied); his plans to reinstate this payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2315/21]

View answer

Willie O'Dea

Question:

545. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Health the reason fourth-year student radiographers who were paid for a number of weeks in 2020 for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic are not being paid now when hospitals are busier than ever; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2533/21]

View answer

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

551. Deputy Kieran O'Donnell asked the Minister for Health if he will address matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) about the need for supports for student radiographers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2551/21]

View answer

Joe O'Brien

Question:

562. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Health if consideration has been given to offering paid contracts to fourth year student radiographers for their work in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic as was the case for the previous academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2576/21]

View answer

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

565. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that student radiographers on placement are not in receipt of any pay or allowances; the steps he is taking in relation to the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2590/21]

View answer

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

665. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Health the position regarding pay for student radiographers during the current lockdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2912/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 490, 545, 551, 562, 565 and 665 together.

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 also 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.