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Health Minister assures bonus to HSE staff in Ireland for their work during pandemic

LIMERICK: Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has promised to compensate health workers for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Minister guaranteed a financial bonus to all Health Service Executive (HSE) staff, including those in administrative roles.

Speaking after a visit to the HSE’s Limerick Covid-19 vaccination centre at Limerick Racecourse, Patrickswell, Mr Donnelly said: “I want to see something done, yes, I absolutely really do. I think our healthcare teams have been incredible. We are still fighting the fight, but I definitely want to see some form of recognition for the extraordinary work that they have all put in,” he said.

“We do need to acknowledge that for nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, administrators – for everyone who has worked in the HSE over the last year and a half – that they’ve had an incredibly difficult time.

“I think they represent the very best of us and they have stepped up to the plate. When the rest of us were told to stay at home to keep ourselves safe, they went into the hospitals, and into the Limerick hospital to keep other people safe, and we need to recognise that.”

The minister said the arrival of the Delta variant was delayed to some extent by the European Union’s strict lock-down measures. But foreign travel is now raising the case numbers, he added.

Do not travel without being vaccinated

Minister Donnelly said some people in Ireland travelled without being vaccinated or before their vaccines had time to work. “They shouldn’t have done that. Some of them have come back and they have contracted COVID, but we will take care of them, we’ll make sure they get the care they need,” he said.

He said that in some cases, people received a second dose of vaccine within 17 days of receiving their first.

“For operational reasons and due to the pace of the rollout we are in a position to offer the second dose after 17 days in some cases. Second doses within this widow are clinically safe and effective,” a HSE spokeswoman said.

A look back at history

The minister’s announcement comes at a time when the case related to compensation for health care workers reached the Workplace Relations Commission. Despite months of requests and petitions from organisations including INMO, the government has not taken a favorable stance on the issue. They delayed making a decision by just making promises and parsing the efforts of the health workers.

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