Politics

Thousands of frontline healthcare workers still waiting for Covid bonus – The Irish Times



Thousands of frontline healthcare workers are still waiting for their €1,000 Covid-19 bonus, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has acknowledged.

Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Donnelly said that where possible the payments will be expedited as he is aware many people are relying on them for the summer months.

The payment was first announced on January 19th and is being made in recognition of frontline staff efforts during the pandemic.

Any healthcare staff who between March 1st, 2020, and June 30th, 2021, worked in a frontline environment that warranted their inclusion in the first two priority sequence groups for the Covid-19 vaccine will be eligible for the payment.

“The recognition payment needs to be paid very quickly. What happened after the Government decision is there was quite an intensive period of discussions between the HSE, the department and the representative bodies. Those discussions finished up, I think, in probably late April, so it’s been a few weeks now,” Mr Donnelly said.

“I’m advised that several thousand have been paid, but obviously there’s many more thousands and I fully agree with the representative bodies and the department is working with the HSE to expedite that, particularly where it’s easiest, which is for our own direct employees.”

He said the situation is “more complex obviously when we are passing it on to the third-party providers because we have to ensure that the money is allocated in exactly the right way”.

Mr Donnelly was asked about frontline workers who were left feeling demoralised by the amount of time it has taken to process the payments.

“No one should feel demoralised. This is a genuine recognition by Government and indeed by the people of Ireland of how extraordinary our healthcare workers have been. Part of the reason it has taken this long is because the department and the HSE have been engaging with the representative bodies and listening very carefully to what they want and they’ve raised very important issues”, he said.

“We want to get it right. And we want to make sure that everyone who is entitled to it gets it. That has taken a bit of extra time and I understand people are looking for that. I have no doubt people want that in their bank accounts coming into the summer so that they can use it in some cases for their holidays or for their children or whatever it may be. All efforts to that end are being made.”

Among the workers eligible for the payment are consultants, nurses, lab staff, healthcare assistants, cleaners, porters, swabbers, vaccinators and administrative staff such as receptionists.

The health service is progressing the payments across hospitals and community services for staff who are eligible and increasing numbers will begin receiving it in the coming weeks, it is understood.

Mr Donnelly was launching a report on safe staffing which sets out a methodology to determine the appropriate number of nurses and healthcare assistants required for Emergency Departments and Injury Units based on the number of patients presenting and their care needs.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.