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Closed petition Ensure Student Nurses are paid whilst on placement

Provide pay whilst student nurses are working on placement to earn a living for their family and increase mental well-being as working with covid19 for free is detrimental to the future nursing workforce

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Without pay, nursing students are giving up, they don't feel valued and barely have any time to work around the course to support their children or families. They have so many assignments on top of work life that they need payment during placement just to earn a living. To increase mental well-being and to ensure the nursing workforce remains stable

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

49,350 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 24 November 2020

Clinical placements provide supervised training. Student nurses are not paid but receive financial support to train through student loans and non-repayable maintenance grant of at least £5,000 a year.

Read the response in full

The Government recognises and fully appreciates the challenges that those studying to be nurses face

The Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and healthcare students have been a key part of the phenomenal NHS response . Back in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the Government anticipated a reduced NHS capacity to support students on clinical placements and a need to increase the workforce capacity. As a result of this, arrangements were quickly made to give all nursing students the choice to opt-in to a paid placement. The response to this initiative was overwhelming, and the Government is truly grateful for the efforts and sacrifices made by healthcare students in these challenging times.

Since the initiation of the opt-in paid placements, the Government was clear that this was a temporary arrangement, and that at the appropriate time, non-paid placements would resume. As planned, most paid clinical placements have now concluded, and the appropriate transition arrangements have been agreed for all students.

The Government greatly values healthcare students and fully appreciate that students need the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in a safe clinical environment. As part of their education programme, all nursing students are required to complete practice placements. Students are a valuable part of their teams and make a real difference to the patients that they care for, and this has been even more true during this pandemic. That said, students in clinical placements are required to be ‘supernumerary’. This means that there should be protections in place for student nurses so that they are are an addition to the normal team and not employed to provide care. This ensures students have the time and support necessary to learn.

The Government acknowledges and appreciates the unique characteristics of healthcare courses and greatly values the contribution that student nurses make to the NHS. That is why the Government introduced the new, non-repayable, training grant of at least £5000 per academic year in September 2020, for all eligible new and continuing pre-registration nursing, midwifery and most allied health profession students studying at English universities. A further £3,000 is available to support eligible students studying in hard to recruit areas or those studying a specialist’s subject as well as support for childcare costs.

This new grant of between £5-£8k is in addition to maintenance and tuition fee loans provided by the Students Loan Company. An additional £1000 for parental support allowance, Travel and Dual Accommodation Expenses (TDAE) and support for students facing financial hardship is also available through the Learning Support Fund grant introduced in 2017.This generous support package enables healthcare students to focus on their studies and placements and contributes to alleviating financial pressures students might be facing.

We want to ensure that the NHS employment offer continues to attract, retain and reward the dedicated and compassionate staff our NHS needs and that is why, nurses and other ‘non-medical’ NHS staff are employed on the Agenda for Change (AfC) national contract. Upon completion of their studies, newly qualified nurses are usually employed on Agenda for Change Band 5, with a starting salary of nearly £25,000.

We recognise that no matter the measures put in place to ensure safety and quality of learning; the nature of this virus is that it will cause inevitable disruption. The government is keen to minimise disruption and have taken a range of steps to put in place specific measures for healthcare students. These measures include ensuring that students on placement have access to broadly equitable support as for NHS staff, including being classed as essential workers for the purpose of testing, access to appropriate PPE for placement duties and access to NHS mental health support.

Department of Health and Social Care