The Irish government will fund student nursing and midwifery places at Northern Ireland universities, the Irish Health Department has confirmed.
It follows a cut of 300 nursing places announced last month amid budget cuts across Stormont’s departments.
The Irish Times reported that the majority of the placements will be for students from the Republic of Ireland.
It said a proportion of the placements, during the one-year deal, would be reserved for Northern Ireland students.
Once the student nurses and midwives graduate, they will be free to work on either side of the border.
A spokesperson for the Irish Department of Health said it would fund 200 nursing places for students from the Republic of Ireland.
“This will support Northern Ireland’s objective of preserving their training capacity and is a sign of what can be achieved through all island cooperation,” they added.
A Northern Ireland Department of Health spokesperson said it welcomed the “planned one-year arrangement which will help maintain the current training infrastructure for pre-registration nurse training, ahead of an intended future increase in NI-funded places in the event of additional funding being available”.
The Northern Ireland department said the health service would benefit from “ROI-funded” nursing and midwifery students doing their practical training in Northern Ireland’s hospitals.
“This planned one-year funding arrangement will be an important practical step in fostering future collaboration across the island of Ireland,” the spokesperson added.
Providing additional nursing training places was a key part of the New Decade, New Approach deal which restored Stormont’s institutions in 2020.
Speaking in May this year, when the cuts to nursing places was announced the Royal College of Nursing said the move would do “irreparable damage”.
Source : BBC