Social Democrats health spokesperson Róisín Shortall has welcomed the Taoiseach’s response to her in the Dáil that there will be a three-month extension of a temporary payment scheme for healthcare workers suffering from long Covid.

“It is simply unconscionable that this cohort of workers, who have been unable to resume their employment due to ongoing Covid symptoms, were set to lose their payments at the end of March.

“Those affected have been receiving their basic salary since a temporary scheme was put in place in July 2022 but faced having to rely on time-restricted sick pay arrangements when it ended. This would have placed workers under severe financial strain and impacted their families’ lives.

“These employees were exposed to Covid in healthcare settings at the height of the pandemic and are owed a debt of gratitude by the State. After selflessly providing vital care to others, many now suffer from a range of symptoms, including debilitating fatigue, joint and nerve pain, vertigo, shortness of breath, chronic sleep disturbance and cognitive difficulties.

“It is completely unacceptable that those impacted by long Covid, despite having no clear prognosis as to when or if their symptoms will ease, have been left in limbo for nearly two years about their future earnings.

“When I raised this matter with the Taoiseach today, I was relieved to learn that there has been a change of heart by the Government, with the temporary payment scheme now set to be extended for another three months.

“While this reprieve is welcome, it is vital that these workers do not face any financial cliff edge after this extension period ends and that an appropriate occupational injury scheme is put in place in the meantime.

“The Minister for Health and the HSE have a duty of care to these workers. Given the extraordinary sacrifices they have made, they must not be failed by the State.”

April 16, 2024

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