Aontú Cllr for Mid Ulster & Deputy Leader Denise Mullen has hit out at the complete lack of financial supports for student nurses in the North of Ireland, who are the future of the NHS, but are expected to live and rear a family on crumbs.

Cllr Mullen: “Mistreatment of student nurses does not stop at the border – in the 32 counties of Ireland, student nurses get the rawhide of the deal. I have been contacted by many constituents in relation to student nurses in the North. They are denied eligibility for student loans. Many are unable to work as they are working 37.5hours a week through university and doing academic studies alongside. They have described the fear of failing academically or financial trouble is overwhelming. Student nurses who have saved the bacon throughout the pandemic are left fearful and mistreated just because they do their job.”

“They are frontline workers, do real work and are fearful of endangering families and friends. From one constituent of mine: ‘We get a bursary of £430.42 per month and are expected to travel to and from placements, pay rent, mortgages, raise children and all other necessities on that amount. We are the future of the NHS and this is causing a lot of undue stress and mental health problems as a result, I’m sure you appreciate where we are coming from with regards this.’ I certainly do appreciate where our healthcare heroes and the future of our healthcare service are coming from, and am calling for enhanced financial supports to pay our student nurses and our qualified nurses what they need and deserve.”