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Childcare allowance for nurses

Student nurses and midwives with dependent children in Northern Ireland are to get childcare allowance.

They will be entitled to receive up to £1,185 a year following a recommendation as part of an ongoing review of student support which brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK.

Health minister Michael McGimpsey said up until now, student nurses and midwives studying in Northern Ireland were not eligible for any financial assistance with childcare costs.

He added: "One of my priorities on taking up office was the introduction of a childcare payment for student nurses. This welcome additional support will lessen the financial burden on student nurses and midwives.

"My department needs to provide an adequate supply of well-trained nurses who will be equipped to join the Health and Social Care workforce and be at the forefront in the delivery of high-quality patient care.

"The offer of family friendly policies to students reflects the type of support they will receive if they work for HSC employers."

A Royal College of Nursing spokesman welcomed the allowance, and added: "It will help to ensure that many student nurses who would otherwise have been forced to drop out of their courses will now be able to continue with their studies."

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Royal College of Nursing