Nursing students will not be forced to carry out NHS work in the event of an escalation of the second swine flu surge, according to Department of Health guidance.
It also suggests that decisions on whether to pay student nurses in this situation will be a matter for local trusts to decide, based on need.
DH guidance published last week states: “Students will be invited to ‘opt in’ to undertaking NHS work. Students who opt-in to undertaking NHS work may do so on a paid or voluntary basis. If they do so on a paid basis, they should be paid at a rate appropriate for their contribution – whether they have opted for clinical or administrative duties.
“Whether employed on a paid or voluntary basis, students will need to be issued with an honorary contract by the employer,” it says.
“Students who are close to graduation should be approached in the first instance as their knowledge and skills should be at higher level to other students in the earlier part of their studies,” it adds.