Student nurses are calling for paid contracts to be reinstated for those on placement in hospitals in the UK, saying they feel “forgotten about” during the second wave of Covid-19.
In March, final-year student nurses in the last six months of their degree were offered the option to join the NHS workforce under paid contracts. Other final year students and those in second year could also opt in for paid clinical work.
Paid contracts finished in September as pressure on the health service eased, and there are no plans to reintroduce them in any of the four nations of the UK.
As admissions to hospitals rise this winter, many student nurses are now being drafted in to help on Covid wards. In England and Scotland, their student status also means they are not automatically eligible for the death-in-service benefits that paid NHS staff receive.
“During this wave, nothing has been discussed, nothing has been on the news, it just feels like we’ve been forgotten about,” said Emily Cooper, 26, a second-year student nurse in Leicester working on a general ward for elderly patients, which is seeing a rising number of Covid cases.
“Death rates are higher and the cases in hospitals are higher, and we’re in lockdown again, so we feel hard done by because we’ve not got any protection or any kind of financial payment. We’re still out there on the frontline, and it’s a really scary time.”…