MP John Healey is calling for student nurses working in hospitals on the frontline of the Covid-19 response to be paid.
Students who were drafted in to work during the first wave of the pandemic were paid, yet those on placements in hospitals now are not.
Mr Healey said: “I was contacted by a student nurse working on an all-Covid ward in a local hospital. She is seeing deaths every day and putting in 12-hour shifts. She is exhausted and her mental health is suffering.
“Why is she being made to feel less valuable than those who were doing this just a few months earlier?
“There’s a risk this will lead to students dropping out when we are in desperate need of nurses – there’s already a shortage of 40,000.”
The government scrapped NHS bursaries for nurses – which covered tuition fees and living costs – in 2015, leading to a large fall in applicants.
The bursary was brought back for those starting their course in September but current second and third years will qualify with thousands of pounds of student debt.
Mr Healey has written to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, saying: “Hospitals are seeing more Covid patients than in the first wave while also being asked to continue with as many non-Covid appointments and treatments as possible.
“These recent weeks have seen our local South Yorkshire hospitals under extreme pressure and student nurses are again making a huge contribution to our NHS.
“They deserve better, with recognition for the role they are playing alongside qualified NHS colleagues on the Covid frontline. I ask you to give urgent attention to putting right this lack of payment.”