A union is calling for healthcare staff to be paid the Covid-19 pandemic bonus after staff at only two hospitals have been paid the gift.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to ensure that the payment is given to nurses, midwives and other frontline workers.
It was announced last January that frontline public healthcare workers who worked in an environment in which they were exposed to Covid-19 would be given a one-off tax-free bonus of €1,000.
The INMO said that hospitals are still waiting for funds from the HSE to be able to make the payments.
"Despite Government announcements and statements directly to the media that the pandemic recognition payment for frontline workers would be paid immediately, those who work in healthcare settings are still waiting for the bonus to be paid," said INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
"This payment has only been made to staff in two hospitals, with many hospitals stating that they are waiting on the HSE to give them the funds to allow them make the payment. The red tape around this payment must be removed and the promised payment made."
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said that "all too often", the delayed implementation of agreements is seen.
"This announcement was made back in January, yet the Minister’s own department still has not made any moves to ensure payment to Section 39 employees, agency staff and those who worked in private nursing homes. This is despite several calls from the National Staff Panel of Trade Unions requesting the Department to do so.
“This is a matter of prioritising the implementation of agreements. Unfortunately, all too often we see the practice of delayed implementation of agreements and this in turn this leads to an increase in numbers of nurses and midwives expressing their intention to leave the profession. Our health service must do everything possible to retain the workforce and this dismissive constant delay mentality must be corrected.”