Nurses and midwives in Laois and other counties must get Covid compensation demands INMO

Leinster Express Reporter

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Nurses in Portlaoise hospital on International Nurse Day in May 2020

Nurses and midwives in Laois and the rest of Ireland deserve compensation for their work during the pandemic, the INMO will TDs at Oireachtas health committee on Tuesday.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation say healthcare workers in Northern Ireland and Scotland are set to receive a once-off £500 bonus for their work so far.

Irish nurses claim their counterparts in France are to be awarded a €1,500 bonus for their work.

The INMO say they lodged a claim in November for compensatory leave due to fatigue and overwork throughout 2020, which has not yet been responded to.

The INMO says it will also tell the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health that decisions on worker safety have had “insufficient priority” since the start of the pandemic.

The union says 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 calls 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.

INMO President, Karen McGowan, said that despite great risks, nurses and midwives 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 in recognised,” she said in a statement.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said Government must value sacrafice.

"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," she said.