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Today, Thursday, 24th January, the Union of Students in Ireland launched the 2019 Pharmacy Students’ Campaign Report on the financial burden placed on students by the new integrated Pharmacy programme. Directly after the launch, over 500 students rallied outside the Dáil to express their anger at unpaid placements and increased fees.

 

Last night, APPEL (the schools of pharmacy) lifted the ban on payment for placement for 4th and 5th year Pharmacy Students. USI and IPSA cautiously welcomed this statement and today called on the PSI to clarify its position and work with students’, pharmacists and colleges to protect the rights of students on placement.

 

In 2018, USI alongside the Irish Pharmacy Students’ Association (IPSA) launched a survey aimed at 4th year Pharmacy students while on placement. These students were the first cohort to face the brunt of a ban on receiving payment for their labour. The ban was introduced by the pharmacy regulator, the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI), and enforced by APPEL, the pharmacy placement management group.

 

In Autumn 2019 these students will also be the first to face increased fees in 5th year, ranging between €7,500 and €8,500. Today’s rally at that Dáil gained widespread cross-party support against these fees.

 

USI President, Síona Cahill said;

“Our future pharmacists are being exploited with extortionate fees and unpaid labour.

 

The Union of Students in Ireland has long defended the rights of students as workers, and with this report we aim to highlight the exploitation of our future pharmacists while on placement.

 

After the pharmacy programme changed in Ireland to an integrated model, pharmacy students are now feeling the significant financial and personal pressure of increased fees in their 5th year, while working on placement for a total of 12 months completely unpaid. These pressures are the result of decisions taken by the pharmacy regulator – decisions enforced by their Schools. Decisions taken by those who should have valued the students under their care.”

 

The President of IPSA, Niamh Loughlin, a student in TCD added;

“Pharmacy students’ are being taken advantage of. It is unfair to expect students under the new MPharm programme to work what is essentially a full time job without payment while paying fees up to €8,500.

 

The 2019 Pharmacy Students’ Campaign Report calls for an immediate end to this ban so that the next cohort of 4th and 5th years can be reassured that they do not face huge financial distress.”

 

Notes:

  • In previous years, students on placement in 4th and 5th year could earn up to €22,000 for the full-time work they were undertaking.
  • Payment for placement has been effectively banned by the PSI.
  • Tuition fees for 5th year have increased, ranging from €7,500 to €8,500.
  • USI makes legitimate and feasible recommendations for action in the report, including that the PSI immediately lifts the payment ban, and that the Department for Education and Skills introduces legislation to prevent higher fees in integrated programmes.
  • The report is supported by pharmacy professionals across the country, by TDs, and by the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU).
  • Pharmacy Students’ Campaign Report can be found HERE
  • Images from today can be found HERE

 

Contact:

Aoife Duff

Public Relations & Communications Manager

Union of Students in Ireland

E: pr@usi.ie

M: 086 130 3101

 

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