Stephen Donnelly TD
Minister for Health
Department of Health
50 – 58, Block 1
Baggot Street Lower
18th January, 2021
Dear Minister Donnelly,
We hope that this email finds you well. UCD Students’ Union are contacting you in relation to the suspension of clinical placement for 1st-3rd year students. A number of concerns have been raised by our nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy students, which we would kindly ask you or your department to clarify.
Firstly, as you will be aware students have statutory requirement to complete minimum clinical practise hours as set out in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC. How does the Department of Health intend to ensure that students will be able to progress with their programmes without impediment? Will a special amendment to the directive be considered, or will students be required to complete the clinical practise hours at a later stage?
Secondly, during the first wave of the pandemic, 4th year nursing interns were provided with a €14 hourly rate in line with the Health Care Assistant rate. Will this rate be offered again to current 4th year students? We are in complete agreement with the INMO that in light of the increased risk and workload of undertaking placement this time it is entirely reasonable that the rate would be increased to the Healthcare Assistant Grade as it was in March. Will there be any reduction in the intern-support staff ratio as a result of the re-deployment of CPC’s to other areas?
Finally, 1st-3rd year students were provided with the option of taking up a Health Care Assistant position during the first wave of coronavirus in March. It is our understanding that the HSE have advised the Department that such a scheme is not required at present. We would ask that greater consideration is given to providing
students with the option of a Health Care Assistant contract, as many students will seek to undertake agency work in order to meet their living expenses regardless.
We look forward to hearing from you on this matter.
Le gach dea-ghuí,
UCD Students’ Union