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The Union of Students in Ireland is disappointed at the Department of Health’s decision last night to extend the current two-week suspension of nursing and midwifery student placements by a further week.

USI is particularly concerned by the lack of clarity being provided about whether students will be required to pay back this further week in placement-time and also the way this latest decision was communicated through the media before colleges had an opportunity to communicate it to students and explain what the decision will mean for them.

USI Deputy President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kevin McStravock said: “While we respect the need to ensure the safety of those on placement and to address pressure in the health service, this extension means that students are once again uncertain about what their education will look like for the remainder of the semester. Placements are currently due to recommence from February 8, but not all clinical placement sites will be able to accommodate students from this date and there is limited information available as to what this will mean for students who cannot return to placement at this time.

“USI urges the Departments of Health and Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science to urgently engage with colleges and the NMBI to look at what provisions can be put in place for students whose placements will be unable to recommence on February 8 and to ensure students are not required to repay this further suspended week in placement time.”

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