Frontline workers who have been running our hospital and community services through two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic should be acknowledged with, at a minimum, additional paid leave, Deputy Denis Naughten has suggested this evening.
“I first raised this issue 21 weeks ago and the Taoiseach promised me he would look at the possibility of providing frontline staff, who were both physically and mentally exhausted after the first wave of Covid infection, with additional leave. And now the Scottish Government has pledged to pay every NHS and social care worker a £500 Covid bonus,” stated Deputy Naughten.
“All frontline workers within our health services or other services, including essential retail, should receive some acknowledgement from their employers of the trojan work they put in throughout 2020.
“In particular, I believe the time is now right for the Government to recognise the work of all frontline health workers. Many of our doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, cleaners, porters etc placed themselves at risk to go to work every day to keep us safe and to care for those who were seriously ill.
“Many of them made huge personal sacrifices during this time, including moving out of their homes and away from their families in some cases to keep them safe, while continuing to provide care not alone for those with Covid but also others who needed hospital care during uncertain times.
“These healthcare workers have worked long hours in extremely difficult circumstances across two waves on the pandemic, and we must now stop and recognise the work they have done on behalf of us all. These people have been selfless, and our country owes them a huge debt of gratitude.
“As a result, it is disappointing that even though the Taoiseach gave me a commitment to examine such a proposal when I presented it to him last July, nothing has happened.
“I would again plead with Government to take up my proposal or alternatively follow the example set by the Scottish Government and provide these frontline staff with an acknowledgement that recognises their sacrifices during 2020,” said Deputy Naughten.