COVID-19: Scotland offers students band 4 pay to help tackle pandemic

Final-year nursing and midwifery students can make significant difference, says Scotland's chief nursing officer

Picture shows a nursing student on a hospital ward in Glasgow. Final-year nursing and midwifery students can make significant difference, says Scotland's chief nursing officer.
A nursing student on a hospital ward in Glasgow. Picture: Epicscotland

Scotland is offering final-year nursing students band 4 pay if they sign up to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the UK, nursing students in their final year of study and nurses who have left practice within the past three years are being asked to temporarily join the NHS if a state of emergency is declared.

Other UK nations are yet to propose salaries, although when the plan to employ students was first made public NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens mentioned band 5 pay.

Chief nursing officer for Scotland Fiona McQueen confirmed the figure in a letter inviting nursing and midwifery students to be employed by their local NHS board, which will work with universities to place them in appropriate settings. 'You will be paid for the work, initially at band 4, and as an employee will have the same terms and conditions as any NHS employee,' she wrote.

Other students can work in community, care home sector or telehealth

The starting salary for band 4 in Scotland is around £20,000.

Ms McQueen wrote: 'I know that as a final-year student you are highly skilled, and you will be able to make a significant difference.

'I know that you will be anxious or unsure, and there are many of you who are in the category of people who need to be shielded rather than exposed. So this isn’t for everyone, and we will be working to minimise any disruption for those who cannot participate.’

But she said those who could not work in acute or patient-facing areas could take up roles in the community, in the care home sector or in NHS 24 – Scotland's telehealth organisation.

'Whatever your skills, if you feel able to be deployed there will be an opportunity for you if you want to take it up.'

Pay rates awaited in other UK countries

A Welsh Government spokesperson said it was finalising the details of the offer to students in Wales and would make an announcement shortly.

Neither the Department of Health in Northern Ireland nor NHS England responded to a request for confirmation of the proposed pay rate in their countries.

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