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Covid-19

Government's delayed childcare plan for health workers needs approval by health experts

The National Public Health Emergency team will discuss the plan tomorrow, says the Taoiseach.

A NEW PLAN to sort out childcare for healthcare workers is to be considered by the National Public Health Emergency team tomorrow. 

Speaking in Dublin today, he said: “We know that there is a significant demand from healthcare workers to have childcare provided so that they can continue to go to their jobs. In some families and households it has been working okay because one of the couple is working from home or has lost their job – which is really unfortunate.

“We have come across incidents where there are two healthcare workers in the same household and they are struggling to get childcare.

“We have worked up a solution – the money there to do it. But it does require public health clearance from the National Public Health Emergency Team, so they are going to discuss it tomorrow.

“I know that is has been very delayed and people are very frustrated about it, and there are a lot of contrasting views about it, but it needs public health clearance.”

Childcare for health workers is something which has been mooted for some time now, with the Taoiseach stating earlier this month that the government was ready to push the button on a plan. However, he said such measures had to be cleared by the public health team.

Varadkar admitted a couple of weeks ago it was taking much longer than he would have liked to get a plan signed off on. 

“I understand people’s frustrations – public health has to be the number one concern.”

Today, he acknowledged the delay. 

“I know people are very frustrated about it… whatever we do we have to get public health clearance, and one of the things we’ve tried to avoid during  the emergency is households mixing. So we just need to make sure that the National Health Emergency team are
satisfied with the proposal,” he said. 

If the new plan is approved tomorrow, the Taoiseach said an announcement would be made during the week. 

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