Representatives from the INMO speaking at yesterday’s Oireachtas health committee called for additional compensation for nursed who have worked through the pandemic. Healthcare workers in Northern Ireland and Scotland are set to receive a once-off £500 bonus for their work so far while in France, they are to be awarded a €1,500 bonus for their work.
The INMO lodged a claim in November for compensatory leave due to fatigue and overwork throughout 2020, which has not yet been responded to. The INMO also told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health that decisions on worker safety have had “insufficient priority” since the start of the pandemic. They also made the claim that healthcare workers’ safety has been at risk as a result, while students have been left with a bad experience of the Irish health service.
The INMO submission also called for improved social distancing in hospitals, mental health supports for the frontline, childcare provision, and mandatory health and safety inspections in workplaces with clusters or outbreaks of COVID.
According to INMO President Karen McGowan a debt of gratitude is owed to frontline staff.
“Despite great risks, our colleagues across nursing and midwifery have made an incredible contribution to the fight against COVID. It is a matter of simple justice that the debt of gratitude owed to frontline staff is recognised.”
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, echoed those sentiments while outlining the many issues frontline workers have had to endure during the pandemic.
“This has been a long hard year for those who work in the health service. Time and time again, frontline healthcare staff have stepped up to provide care in extreme circumstances. It is beyond time that their efforts are recognised.
“We have lodged a claim for compensation for our members, given all they have sacrificed and contributed during this pandemic. We are still awaiting a response.
“Ever since the virus arrived on our shores, we have had to push for basic safety for frontline staff. We were forced to launch a public campaign simply to get facemasks. The government refused to classify COVID as an occupational injury until an EU directive forced their hand.
“Even basic issues like childcare for the largely female healthcare workforce were not dealt with when schools closed.
“It’s time for a clear message from government that our frontline nurses and midwives are truly valued.”