Pandemic Payment: Unacceptable treatment of Covid-19 workers must end soonMonday September 19, 2022
Eight months since promise made to pay €1,000
19th September 2022: Nursing Homes Ireland and the Alliance of Healthcare Assistants in Ireland has denounced the unacceptable delay in the rollout of the Covid19 pandemic payment for frontline healthcare workers that suffered so much during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today Monday 19th September will mark eight months since the Government announced the recognition payment. Yet, to date, workers in private and voluntary nursing homes and other services that supported our most vulnerable during the pandemic have still to receive the payment.
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “It is unacceptable that we are eight months down the line and the payment to workers who went through so much during Covid-19 has still not been processed. The latest from the Department of Health after all that time is that now a tender process must be entered into for rollout of the payment. The scheme was announced by Government in January, we’re approaching the year-end, and now they tell us they need to engage in a tender process. It is incredulous that the State, which holds records regarding every individual’s employment and documented the rollout of the vaccination to 40,000 employees within our sector in a short period, cannot establish a mechanism to rollout the payment with minimum fuss.
“It is an insult to staff in nursing homes and within services that served on the frontline that the State has procrastinated on this very important matter for people who endured so much for so long during Covid-19. Staff in nursing homes feel insulted by the extended and unacceptable delay that has manifested. So much of the goodwill and gratitude that this payment was meant to signify has been eroded amongst these workers that were so valiant during the pandemic. It is devaluing on a day-by-day basis too given inflation since January. It is so disappointing and damning of the State that it has not seen fit to have this payment rolled out for nearly a year after it was announced.”
The Alliance of Health Care Assistants in Ireland (AHCAI) is a representative body for Health Care Assistants. Similar to NHI, it has been in constant contact with the Department of Health since the announcement was made regarding the pandemic payment.
Clare Doyle, AHCAI Chairperson said: “AHCAI is very much aware there are complexities and processes entailed in the rollout of the payment and we have been very patient and understanding. However, after eight months of the Department of Health and the HSE working on this project, it is unbelievable that they are still unable to implement a practical plan of action to finalise payments. Our healthcare assistants up and down the country did not dither and were not found wanting when it came to providing care to the most vulnerable in our society when Covid-19 arrived. They provided vital care day in and day out, then and now, throughout this pandemic. The actions of the State are shocking and unacceptable. Incredibly, it now appears extra finances will be utilised for a third-party contractor to assist with this payment process. The unacceptable delay in processing this payment is disheartening to the many who did such valuable work. We have pleaded directly with multiple Government Departments to demonstrate authentic recognition to these vital healthcare workers by rolling out the payment and strengthening the role of HCAs within society. This protracted delay shows disrespect towards the employees and the profession.”
Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, is available for interview.