Public Interest News List: 29: Natasha Meek, Telegraph&Argus

An investigation by Bradford Telegraph & Argus reporter Natasha Meek discovered that many students who have set aside their studies to care for sick patients were — until recently — on unpaid placements while those being paid were still facing a massive student debt.

The T&A and its sister titles across Newsquest launched a joint campaign in a bid to help more than 15,000 student nurses who have answered the call for volunteers to help meet staff shortages in the NHS.

Editor Nigel Burton said: “Through a cruel twist of fate the final year students who are currently putting their lives — and, potentially, the lives of their families — on the line are also the only students who will have to pay their own tuition fees.”

For the launch a student nurse described her fears and despite the Trust telling the paper students were not going to deal with Covid-19 patients, this student nurse had.

It also found that although the majority of PPE is intended to be single use, many healthcare workers were forced to re-use PPE with some refusing to care for covid-19 patients as a result.

Nigel added: “Natasha did a great job on the campaign launch. She relentlessly chased down MPs, put officials on the spot and given our healthcare students a voice. The quality of her work was outstanding.

”It was backed by MPs, the Royal College of Nursing and, at the time of writing, almost 1,200 people who signed its petition to scrap last year’s tuition fees across the UK.

Fellow T&A reporter Chris Young also asked a question to the communities minister during the daily briefing about the Government’s recognition of their hard work.

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