Scotland ‘could face paramedic shortage without bursary’ – STV News

Scotland could face a shortage of paramedics in future if students in the profession are not given the same bursaries as those training to become nurses and midwives, union leaders have warned.

Unison is demanding action on the issue after a campaign for student paramedics to receive bursary payments won cross-party support in the run-up to the Holyrood election.

It comes as changes being brought in from September will mean those who wish to become paramedics have to complete a three-year degree – rather than undergoing apprentice-style, on-the-job training.

Student paramedic Lisa Tainish said: “Where there once was a pay-as-you-learn apprenticeship for paramedics, we now have three years of expensive education to pay for.

“Student paramedics are at a disadvantage when it comes to supporting studies with a part-time job in the traditional student employers such as retail and hospitality.

“You physically can’t finish a busy eight to 12-hour frontline placement, witnessing traumatic events like death or serious injury, then go sit behind a shop till or bar with a smile on your face.”

Ms Tainish, a member of the Pay Student Paramedics campaign, insisted: “The placement work we do is work and should be paid.

“Our research clearly shows that financial pressure has paramedic students on the verge of choosing a different career.

“The brutal reality is that unless support such as a bursary, already given to student nurses, gets put in place, Scotland could be facing a critical shortage of paramedics.

“All the political parties gave us a commitment they would sort this out. Now it’s time for action.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to the introduction of a bursary for student paramedics as quickly as possible.

“We are working with the Student Awards Agency Scotland to do this at the earliest opportunity.”

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Scottish Government ‘received extra £14.5bn’ during Covid – STV News

The Scottish Government has received an additional £14.5bn of funding since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures released by the UK Treasury.

The annual publication of the Block Grant Transparency on Thursday also revealed the Welsh Government received an additional £8.6bn and the Northern Ireland Executive an additional £5.0bn.

The UK Treasury said the funding allowed the Scottish Government to provide support to individuals, businesses and public services in response to the pandemic and will continue to support the recovery through 2021-22.

The report stated that £352bn was spent across the UK on Covid-19 measures.

In Scotland this included protecting more than 900,000 jobs through the furlough scheme, £294m in self-employment support, help for businesses and the procurement of vaccines.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: “The UK government is fully committed to strengthening the Union and making sure Scotland has the funding needed to get through this pandemic, with £14.5bn of additional spending over the last year.

“We’ve protected more than a million Scottish jobs and businesses with furlough and support schemes, our vaccine rollout is unlocking the economy, and our Plan for Jobs is levelling up opportunity and helping us build back better across the UK.”

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “From the very start of the pandemic, the UK Government has taken unprecedented action to help people and businesses right across the country.

“That includes our furlough scheme, support for self-employed people, help for businesses, and the hugely successful UK-wide vaccine programmes.

“On top of this direct support, the UK Government has provided an additional £14.5bn of funding for the Scottish Government.

“This extensive support, which now enables us to look towards recovery, shows how Scotland benefits from being part of a strong United Kingdom. Never has the value of the Union been more important or more apparent.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has received confirmation of £13.3bn in Covid-19 consequentials to date based on the Main Estimate Process. This represents Scotland’s share of UK Government spending on the pandemic.

“As there is no guarantee on Covid-19 funding in 2021-22, this may be reduced later in the financial year if Covid-19 spending in England is revised downward.”