Liam McArthur MSP gets the Parliamentary ball rolling.
Last week Liam McArthur, Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney, gave our campaign a fantastic boost by directly raising the issue of the discrepancies between support for Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic science students.
Previously Liam had written to the Health Secretary about the issue after receiving letters from concerned constituents of his, and was given a response that stated the Government would not be looking at making any reviews of available funding. Showing us how much he cares for his constituents, Liam was not willing to back down and decided to keep pressing the issue.
During First Ministers Questions last week, he highlighted that Scottish students studying to become paramedics are asked to work the same shifts as a fully qualified paramedics during the course of their degree. He emphasised that this makes it near impossible for student paramedics to hold down jobs alongside their studies and that student paramedics are not given bursary funding in recognition of this despite the fact that nursing and midwifery students do, for the same reasons.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, aknowledged that the arguments for a student paramedic bursary had merit and she confimed she had also received communications from some of her constituents about the same issue. The First Minister also promised that the government would take a look at the situation again, and look to re-assess their position on the matter.
Watch the full interaction between Liam and the First Minister here.
About Liam McArthur
Liam has been the MSP for Orkney since 2007 and given the way in which he supports his constituents, and believes strongly in the idea of community care, it's no suprise to the author why he has held this seat for so long. Consistently working hard for his constituents, he also has previously campaigned on issues which are related to our own, namely in working to improve air ambulance and healthcare provisions.
Pay Student Paramedics asked Liam why he feels so passionately about helping to create a bursary for student paramedics. This was his response:
Paramedics play an important role within our NHS and work hard to keep our communities safe. I was therefore surprised to learn from correspondence with Megan and other constituents that this is not reflected in the support they are given to become qualified... Without bursary support, young people will inevitably be discouraged from considering a career as a paramedic. We should be widening access to this valuable profession, not removing it as a viable option... I’m therefore fully behind the campaign and will be continuing to press Ministers to commit to treating student paramedics with the fairness they deserve.
A motion is raised
Following on from First Ministers Questions, several other MSP's have joined the cause and Scottish Labour have also now formally and publically announced their support. Frankly, the support we have received from MSPs across the country and from several political parties has been absolutely wonderful.
This however, is only the beginning. On 24th August, less than a week after our official public launch, Liam McArthur raised an official motion in Parliament regarding the understanding and need for student paramedics to be given more support.
Wonderfully it appears, from their public announcements of support for the campaign, and from those already backing the motion, that both the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour will be supporting this motion.
There is a long way to go yet, but this campaign, its organisers, and no doubt every present and future student paramedic would like to say, "Thank you!". Thank you to everyone in and out of parliament who is showing us their support thus far, and thank you to those who will support us in future.
We want this bursary not just for students, but for everyone in this nation. Everyone can benefit from the creation of a bursary for student paramedics, our incredible ambulance service will get more people to join its ranks, and the country will be better looked after for decades to come.