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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
# long covid
Nurses organisation says it wants long-Covid treated as a workplace injury
Talks between unions on new sick pay schemes are ongoing.

THE IRISH NURSES and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said Government plans to replace the sick pay scheme for healthcare workers who contracted long Covid do not go far enough. 

Last week, the Special Leave with Pay Scheme ended. This was a pay scheme set up at the start of the pandemic to support healthcare staff who contracted long Covid. 

Representative bodies for nurses received an update from the Government regarding the new support system. However, the INMO said this scheme does not go far enough. 

The INMO wants long Covid to be treated as a workplace injury. 

A spokesperson said: “What is being put forward by Government does not go far enough. Healthcare workers with long Covid went to work and contracted Covid when there were very few protections available to them. Their illness should be treated as nothing less than a workplace injury.

“The INMO is concerned that no dialogue on an occupational injury scheme has taken place despite willingness from healthcare unions.

“For the Government and the HSE to try to come up with a solution now after the scheme that was in place has expired is nothing short of inexcusable.”
The INMO added that anything less than an Occupational Injury Scheme for healthcare workers with long Covid “will be unacceptable”.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he is conscious that he does not want healthcare workers to experience “a cliff-edge” in respect of the special pay scheme being wound up. 

He added that he hopes the pay talks can be concluded quickly. 

He said: “The Government recognises the role of our healthcare workers throughout the pandemic. They have gone beyond the call of duty, working in frontline Covid-19 clinically exposed environments, treating Covid-19 positive patients.

“Many of those frontline public health sector workers contracted Covid-19 and still remain suffering from long-Covid.

“I want to ensure that eligible frontline healthcare workers, working through the most challenging phases of the pandemic, and who remain absent from the workplace on a long-term basis, are assisted and do not experience a cliff-edge in respect of the change to Special Leave With Pay. I hope the engagement with the representative bodies can be concluded quickly.”

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