Student paramedics to receive a bursary equal to nurses and midwives is welcomed by UNISON campaign

UNISON has been campaigning with Pay Student Paramedics Campaign for many months for paramedic students in Scotland to receive an annual bursary equal to nurses and midwives.
The Scottish Government have announced: “Today (Thursday 1 July) Hundreds of paramedic students in Scotland will receive an annual bursary of £10,000 as part of a new scheme unveiled today. An estimated 668 students will be eligible for the Paramedic, Nursing and Midwifery Student Bursary (PNMSB) for courses starting this September”

David O’Connor, UNISON regional organiser said: “This new bursary for student paramedics (announced today) is welcomed, it will provide paramedics with financial support they need to concentrate on their learning and ultimately becoming qualified.

The brutal reality is that being a paramedic is an extremely difficult and stressful job, many are facing burn-out and say they are thinking of leaving. Even before the pandemic the service was struggling with our members facing the major part of the burden, feeling unsupported, and often working a shift without an uninterrupted break or indeed a rest break

Without this support, Scotland could be facing a critical shortage a of paramedics, given the aging workforce, and the announced increase in paramedic numbers to deliver the modern service

UNISON has been campaigning together with its student members and the Pay Student Paramedics Campaign. All these students should be congratulated for securing cross-party political agreement. It is good to see it being announced.

Our work with student members will move to the next stage, to achieve a safe and inclusive environment whilst on placement. The wider UNISON campaign to have all allied health professional students treated similarly continues”

• Read Scottish Government announcement here:

• UNISON is Scotland’s largest health union.

• UNISON was calling for this bursary following a change in the way paramedics are trained. From September this year, all new paramedics in Scotland will be required to complete a three-year degree. Previously there was an apprentice-style model of paid on-the-job training. Read our most recent press release here:

• A recent survey by the Pay Student Paramedics Campaign showed more than eight in ten (83%) were experiencing burn out with more than half (57%) saying they were likely to leave their course due to financial pressures.

• During the 2021 Holyrood election all the leaders of Scotland’s political parties gave their support for student paramedics to be given a bursary.

• From September 2021 all paramedics entering the profession in Scotland, will be required to have a BSc (three year) degree. This change in legislation means aspiring paramedics now need to go down the qualification route rather than the longstanding apprentice style model. This means that future paramedics have lost the financial security that came with the old model of fully paid on the job learning and training.

• Figures and associated stories from the Pay Student Paramedics Campaign have been complied into a report.

UNISON Contacts
David O’Connor, regional organiser: 07958 121861
Danny Phillips, communications officer: 07944 664110