The Union Students of Ireland have come out in support of Pharmacy Students and upcoming changes to their programs. These changes under the new integrated Pharmacy programme means that students will be required to pay increased fees and participated in greater levels of unpaid placements as a result of a ban in place by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) in paying for student labour.
In a statement to the press, USI President Síona Cahill said ‘Our future pharmacists are being exploited with extortionate fees and unpaid labour’. In previous years fourth and fifth-year students could earn up to €22,000 on placements. This practice has been effectively banned by the PSI according to the USI.
This recent development in the pharmacy course comes alongside UCD’s Students Union coming out in support of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s nurses strike. The strike which is a result of ongoing disputes between the Government and the nurses union regarding pay and retention procedures for nurses. Nurses feel the Government is not doing enough to retain and recruit nurses, leading to what they call a staffing crisis.
In a statement to the press, UCD SU President Barry Murphy said that ‘UCD nursing and midwifery students are a large cohort of the membership of UCDSU and our nursing alumni populate the Irish health sector. We are committed to supporting their fight for better pay and working conditions.’
UCD SU’s Welfare Officer Melissa Plunket, herself a student midwife said ‘I have seen the reality of hospitals both general and maternity being short staffed due to retention and recruitment.’
By Aaron Bowman – CoEditor