Dear Colleagues,

I hope this finds you well. As you are aware, the INMO, SIPTU, and PNA have been lobbying on behalf of student nursing and midwifery members in relation to financial support due to the effect of COVID-19 on students on clinical placement this year.

Following extensive engagement with the Department of Health, the HSE have issued a HR Memo (HR_Memo_re_Process_for_Payment_of_Pandemic_Placement_Grant.pdf) regarding the Pandemic Placement Grant (PPG) payable from the beginning of this academic year:

• €100 per week for supernumerary students and
• €50 per week for internship students

The grant will be administered/paid using the existing structures and processes that are used to pay current clinical placement allowances to student nurses and midwives. The PPG should be processed with immediate effect and payments dates are as follows:

Supernumerary Students

• First payment for period from start of academic year to 31st January 2022 – paid no later than 30th March 2022.
• Second payment for period of 1st February 2022 up to 31st March 2022, paid no later than 30th April 2022.

Internship Students

• First payment for period from start to academic year up to 31st March 2022 – paid no later than 30th of April 2022.
• The second payment will cover the period from 1st April 2022 until 30th June 2022 and received by the student no later than 31st July 2022.
• The third payment will cover the period from 1st July 2022 until the end of the 36week internship.

These internship students will be paid for a maximum of 36 weeks no later than 31st October 2022.

While there is a reference date of 31st March for an end to the PPG for supernumerary students, please note that this is subject to review and further consultation between the Department of Health and the INMO, PNA, and SIPTU.

There have also been further adjustments made to the clinical placement allowances for supernumerary student nurses and midwives. Following comprehensive engagement, the Department of Health have also issued a new circular (Clr_01_2022_re_Student_Travel_Allowances.pdf) outlining the revised clinical placement accommodation allowance:

• The accommodation allowance has been increased to €100 weekly, this will be administered/paid using the existing structures and processes that are used to pay current clinical placement allowances following submission of receipts.
• This revised rate will take effect from the start of the 2021/2022 academic year.
• We would also ask you to note the underlined section in relation to travel payments, and where public transport is not available claims can be made in respect of the use of private travel.

While the progress to payment is welcome, there are related matters to be resolved at this stage, the position of the 2020/2021 intern students, and the restoration permanently of the 80% rate for future interns which is being achieved in the interim via the payment of the €50 per week grant. Both issues are the subject of ongoing engagement between the INMO, PNA, SIPTU and the Department of Health.

In terms of the McHugh Report, this is the start of the process of implementation, and as well as the issues set out above, we will be engaging with the Department of Health in the coming months to address additional recommendations on:

• Further improvements to the travel and other expenses provisions for supernumerary students, to ensure they reflect the key principles of the travel and subsistence scheme in the HSE.
• Improvement in systems and reporting to ensure reimbursement within a calendar month following placement, with audit and action measures to ensure compliance.
• Standardisation and improvement of uniform allocations.

If anyone has any questions in relation to these topics, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the PNA Branch for your area or head office.

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