Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Health whether the special recognition payment for health workers will be extended to student doctors who worked in NHS facilities during this pandemic. [Priority Written]
Minister of Health: I have assumed that this question relates to medical students rather than doctors in Training.
I have repeatedly emphasised my appreciation of the contribution made by all employees and students across Health and Social Care during the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am also aware that many medical students have directly contributed to addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19 by taking up paid medical student technician and other healthcare assistant roles created by the HSC Trusts during this emergency. Individuals employed in these roles for a minimum of one month during the period 27 March 2020 to 31 January 2021 will be entitled to access the HSC £500 Staff Bonus Scheme on a proportionate basis.
Medical Education leadership across the entire NHS has been united that the priority for medical students during the most recent phases of the COVID-19 pandemic should be to support them to progress with their learning. My Department is making significant investment to ensure that this happens despite the constraints resulting from COVID-19 protocols. We have augmented our annual expenditure of £27.2m on facilitating clinical placements for medical students. An additional £4.0m is being spent over the 2020/21 academic year to ensure that the necessary significant additional supervision can be provided when medical students are in clinical environments.