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Government Re-Instates Long Covid scheme for Healthcare Workers

The government has re-instated a special scheme of paid leave for public health service staff suffering from Long Covid.

The temporary scheme, which was initially introduced in July 2022, had been paused after the most recent extension to the programme concluded on March 31. However, following calls from health sector unions to reverse this decision, the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure and Reform have agreed to a further extension to the scheme, which will see support in place for certain HSE workers until June 30.

It is thought that around 120 nurses are still unable to return to work due to suffering ongoing symptoms of Long Covid.

The reinstatement of the scheme will be retrospective to April 1 and will apply only to those individuals who were previously receiving the paid leave.

The conclusion of the special scheme had been the subject of an industrial relations claim from health sector staff representative bodies and has been referred back to the Workplace Relations Commission.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation welcomed today’s decision, with a spokesperson saying that it will benefit ‘a group of predominately women who are still suffering from several symptoms associated with Long Covid.

“We hope this is an indication of the future approach that will be taken by the Department of Health and the HSE at the Workplace Relations Commission,” the spokesperson added.

A Department of Health statement this evening said that there will be no impact on sick leave entitlements for those affected as a result of the previous conclusion of the scheme on March 31. Health service employees impacted will be notified of this ‘without delay’, it added.

(Source: Irish Medical Times)

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