A TRAINEE paramedic has called for bursary support to be fast-tracked after a report revealed 95% of them have financial worries.

Rory MacLean is a first year Paramedic Science student at Glasgow Caledonian University and heads up the Pay Student Paramedics campaign. He has called for the introduction of bursaries from September. All political parties have backed calls for it’s implementation but Rory argues they must be put in place sooner rather than later.

Glasgow Times:

It comes after a report released by the campaign revealed that 80% of student paramedics struggled to make ends meet.

Rory said: “This year under the pandemic has been made so much harder by not having a bursary, I’ve only got £200 a month after rent. It’s affected my studying and my mental health to the extent where I’ve had to get therapy to help with the anxiety.”

Scottish student paramedics are currently eligible for the maximum student loan of £5,750 and a bursary of £2,000 depending on their household income. Nursing and midwifery students currently receive a £10,000 bursary in their first three years with an additional £3,640 in grants if they have a partner on a low income or children who depend on them.

Glasgow Times:

Rory has called for similar levels of funding for trainee paramedics. They often work twelve hour shifts and anti-social hours when on placement, dealing with the same kind of issues as paramedics or technicians but are not paid for their time. Rory added: “Student paramedics have the same course structure as nurses yet don’t receive the same funding.

“We are in demand the same as them, with thousands of shifts going uncovered last year. It’s not right that many have to give up good jobs to train and live on less than £200 a month after rent."

Glasgow Times:

The report also discloses the mental health issues that trainee paramedics are facing due to their financial situation with 11% reporting they have felt suicidal and over half have considered leaving their course.

Rory added:”This has lead to a mental health epidemic among student paramedics. We can’t wait for another funding review - the government, when elected, need to implement this bursary before September and before the crisis explodes into tragedy.”

While backing the calls, the SNP have claimed it is not solely the decision of the Scottish Government. A spokesman said: “If re-elected as Scotland’s government we will work with the student awards body to implement the paramedic bursary as quickly as is practicable.”

Glasgow Times:

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Caledonian University said: “Any kind of regulated financial support that assists our students on any of our programmes across the University would always be welcomed.

“Currently, the majority of paramedic students in Scotland receive free or subsidised tuition through SAAS, as well as reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs for any placement undertaken and uniforms.

“The University also offers a range of support for students who fall on hard times, such as the hardship fund. Our University fees and funding department are always happy to provide their expert advice on grants, SAAS, funds and scholarships to our students.”

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