Liam McArthur, Jeane Freeman and the ambulance crews who have been heroes during the pandemic are told there will be no bursaries.
By Democrat reporter
Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur has today expressed his disappointment as Health Secretary Jeane Freeman rejected proposals for a bursary for student paramedics.
Scottish Liberal Democrats are backing the ‘Pay Student Paramedics’, campaign launched by a group of paramedic science students.
Nursing and midwifery students in Scotland receive a £10,000 payment through a Scottish Government bursary scheme but there is no equivalent funding offered to students considering a career as a paramedic.
Mr McArthur raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions last month and was assured by Nicola Sturgeon that the case was being considered.
In a subsequently letter to Mr McArthur, however, Jeane Freeman rejected proposals for such a scheme insisting that students “are eligible to apply for the normal undergraduate funding package”, and the need to be “sustainably balanced in terms of the overall affordability of the student support system”.
Mr McArthur said: “When I raised this issue with the First Minister last month, she assured me that the case for bursary support for student paramedics was being actively considered. Nicola Sturgeon offered similar assurances to parliament again this week.
“At the same time, Jeane Freeman is writing out to MSPs with a long-winded no. So while it’s a ‘mibbes aye’ from the First Minister, it’s a ‘mibbes naw’ from the Health Secretary.
“Paramedics play a vital role in keeping the public and our communities safe. The SNP Government’s refusal to treat student paramedics fairly is therefore all the more frustrating.
“Many of those behind this campaign will be starting their courses in the coming days. Despite the warm words from the First Minister, they will know that they have been let down by this Scottish Government.”