Committee to hear healthcare workers may have failed to declare coronavirus symptoms

Healthcare workers may have failed to declare coronavirus symptoms out of fear of losing additional overtime or premium payments.
Committee to hear healthcare workers may have failed to declare coronavirus symptoms

The committee will also hear over 2,700 nurses have now been infected with Covid-19, representing a third of the 8,300 cases among healthcare workers. File image.

The Dáil's Covid-19 committee will today hear healthcare workers may have failed to declare coronavirus symptoms out of fear of losing additional overtime or premium payments.

In a submission, Siptu says the decision of the Department of Public Expenditure not to permit employers pay staff as per their roster if on Covid-19 related leave, resulted in significant financial disadvantage being incurred.

Siptu says health service members rely on earning premiums to meet financial responsibilities.

The committee will also hear over 2,700 nurses have now been infected with the virus, representing a third of the 8,300 cases among healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of nurses who have recovered from Covid-19 are still experiencing post-viral fatigue, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said.

INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “Fatigue is a major risk to patient and staff safety, especially in a pandemic.

Many of our members are reporting that, despite recovery, they are still facing exhaustion.

“The impacts of this virus can be long-lasting, so nurses and midwives returning to work after recovery are going to need support.

“For many, there will be a long road to full recovery.”

According to the recent survey, of the 545 respondents who said they had recovered from the virus, 497 (91%) stated they continued to experience symptoms, which also included mental health difficulties, headaches and breathing problems.

Other post-viral symptoms cited by respondents included anxiety, trouble concentrating or “brain fog”, dizziness, light headedness, recurring fever and palpitations.

Four in five of all 7,000 nurses and midwives surveyed, including those who did not contract Covid-19, said that working in the health service during the pandemic substantially or somewhat impacted their mental health.

The INMO will present their findings to the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid response on Tuesday morning, in a bid to highlight the importance of safe staffing in the coming months.

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