The Scottish Liberal Democrats have today issued a statement of support for the ‘Pay Student Paramedics’, campaign launched by a group of paramedic science students.
Nursing and midwifery students in Scotland receive a £10,000 payment through a Scottish Government bursary scheme but there is no equivalent funding offered to students considering a career as a paramedic.
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“In the midst of a pandemic, we are more indebted to the NHS workforce than ever. Paramedics have such an important role to play in keeping everybody safe, and so the reluctance of the Scottish Government to properly fund those who want to join that workforce is incredibly frustrating.
“We need the best and brightest in our NHS. This shouldn’t be a profession reserved for those who can pay or which condemns aspiring staff to the breadline. The Health Secretary should immediately establish a bursary scheme for trainee paramedics.”
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, who has been campaigning on this issue, added:
“This is a valued profession, but it is already overworked and understaffed. We should be encouraging more young people into training and supporting them along that journey.
“There is an unjustified discrepancy in the funding provided by the Scottish Government for student paramedics and student nurses. Ultimately, that could jeopardise the whole workforce.
“Paramedics shouldn’t be left to lean on hardship funds to cover basic living costs while they learn. Ministers should be establishing a bursary fund so this career path is open to all.”