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General practice nurses criticise omission from Govt's €1,000 bonus payment plan

The government confirmed plans for a €1,000 tax-free bonus for public sector healthcare workers earlier this week.

Image: Sam Boal

A GROUP REPRESENTING general practice nurses has criticised the omission of their members from plans to give frontline healthcare workers a €1,000 bonus.

The Irish General Practice Nurses Educational Association (IGPNEA) said it amounted to “a total lack of understanding” about the work carried out by their members during the pandemic.

The government confirmed plans to provide the €1,000 tax-free bonus for public sector healthcare workers earlier this week.

It will see healthcare workers including in nursing homes, porters and cleaners in healthcare settings, and hospice workers be eligible for the payment. 

Student nurses, those working in HSE test centres and members of the Defence Forces who were seconded to healthcare roles are also in line to receive the payment.

The bonus is expected to appear in the regular payroll payments of those workers by March. 

Mary Jordan, IGPNEA chairperson, said general practice nurses were responsible for “100% of Covid-19 vaccines given to the most vulnerable cohort of patients” in Ireland- those aged 80 years and over.

‘Worked tirelessly’

She added that “50% of the vaccines delivered across the country to all age groups” were delivered by GP nurses. 

“We worked tirelessly to keep ourselves and our patients and colleagues safe in order to keep our practices open,” she said.

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Jordan added that members are “furious” with remarks by Finance Minister Paschal Donoghue, who had confirmed the omission while on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme on Thursday. 

 “I would call on the Minister to withdraw his remarks, on national tv, which show a complete lack of respect, and a total lack of understanding, of the work that GPNs do on the frontline of the health service during this most challenging of times,” she said. 

“Considering the work that our membership does, and the scope we have to develop into an even more effective function of the healthcare service, the Minister’s comments were particularly hurtful and ill-considered.”

 Staff in private sector nursing homes affected by Covid-19 will also get the payment, with the Government stating that a pro-rata arrangement will apply for eligible part time staff.

Others not eligible include workers in private hospitals or who worked for a pharmacy or a private swab centre.

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