Pandemic Bonus Payment delays an “absolute failure of leadership” - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has sharply criticised the delays to the payment of the pandemic bonus, describing it as "an absolute failure of leadership at the highest level".
The Waterford TD said it is undermining trust and morale across the health service workforce.
Teachta Cullinane was reacting to reports that as few as 1-in-8 public health service workers had received the payment to date, which was announced five months ago.
He said that this payment was the least that the Government could do for healthcare workers and should have been easy to pay, but instead this simple payment is yet another disaster of mismanagement.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The delays to paying workers their pandemic payment is an absolute failure of leadership. It is downright disrespectful to our frontline healthcare heroes and their sacrifices.
“The fact that as few as 1-in-8 of our nurses, midwives, doctors, and allied health and social care professionals have received the payment at this point is a disgrace.
“Healthcare workers are exhausted and burned out after two years of the pandemic, and are still at full tilt day-in and day-out managing the catastrophe of emergency department overcrowding and endless waiting lists.
“This payment was the least that the Government could do for healthcare workers, but even this simple payment has become a disaster of mismanagement.
“The failure to promptly pay this bonus, which was first mooted a year ago and announced with much fanfare five months ago, is further undermining trust and morale across the health service workforce.
“These workers are keeping the health service going despite perpetual crisis, and we are dealing with a recruitment and retention crisis across the board due to the already rock-bottom trust and morale.
“There are 800 vacant consultant posts in hospitals, and 700 vacant community therapist posts in children’s disability service alone.
“Non-consultant hospital doctors are likely to soon go on strike, which is the last thing they want to do. The Medical Scientist dispute is still being dragged on, and many other professions are taking stock.
“Contract and agency workers are still completely in the dark as to when or how they will receive the payment, meaning security, cleaning, and catering staff who are essential to the functioning of hospitals are going to be left waiting even longer.
“The inability of this Government to address this issue and get such a simple thing right is contributing to the anger among healthcare workers, who are fed up with the mismanagement of the healthcare system.
“It is astounding and frankly embarrassing for the political system that the Government could not even get this small payment right.”