THE trust which runs Colchester Hospital has become the first in the country to sign a pledge to support students on clinical placements.

UNISON national nursing officer Stuart Tuckwood and East Suffolk and North Essex trust chief executive Nick Hulme signed the pledge at the Turner Road site.

A poll by the union found healthcare students across the UK feel they don’t receive enough support on clinical placements.

The new pledge is designed to ensure students make the most of their placements at the trust and across the NHS.

Employers signing the pledge commit to treating students with dignity and respect at all times and offer placements that works around students’ needs.

They also vow to supervise students and make sure they have time to complete paperwork.

Trusts will be expected to work with universities to ensure students get six weeks’ notice of their placements and know where they can get the additional support if needed.

Mr Tuckwood said: “Placements are absolutely essential for budding nurses and other healthcare professionals, but they can be an incredibly stressful and challenging time.

“For many, placements will be students’ first taste of life in the NHS so it’s vital the experience is a positive one.

“Better placements won’t just benefit students, they’ll make life better for their supervisors, their patients and the whole health service.

“It’s great the trust has got on board and made this commitment to students.

“We look forward to other hospitals across the country making the same pledge to improve our NHS.”