People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny will today raise the issue of student nurses pay and conditions at the Oireachtas Health Committee. He will also speak to the issue of public health doctors who are seeking equality of status with other equivalent health professionals.
The TD will say: “Public health doctors and student nurses are cohorts of our health sector staff that are predominantly women workers. Their current struggles for recognition and remuneration points to not only the exploitation of these critical health professionals but also references gender-based inequalities in our public health system.
“Student nurses as we know are not paid other than in their final year, despite the fact that even before the pandemic they were doing critical health work on wards in our hospitals. It is unacceptable that the government would seek to block efforts by my party to have these student nurses, who are battling Covid on the frontline, paid for the amazing and vital work that they do.
“So outrageous are the stories of the current experiences of student nurses during the pandemic that I have requested that they be invited to give testimony to this committee as I believe this is something that needs to be heard by all members.”
Speaking on the issue of public health doctors, the TD will say: “Public health doctors oversee public health operations including infectious diseases, vaccinations and contact tracing yet we do not recognise the importance of public health doctors in leading multi-disciplinary teams in a fully resourced public health service. Public health doctors are paid 48% less than their consultant peers and have been campaigning to close that gap for twenty years.”
Deputy Kenny will ask the Minister today to confirm if, in the revised health spending estimates, any allowances have been made with regard to providing for granting public health doctors consultant status and for paying student nurses their due?
He will also raise the issue of the National Children’s Hospital, tracking and tracing, and private hospital capacity in light of Covid.