'NOT BLAMING THE HSE' Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.
Hospital cleaners and caterers still waiting
Mayo University Hospital has confirmed that though all HSE staff deemed eligible for the pandemic payment have now been paid, some non-HSE agency workers have yet to be paid.
The tax-free payment of €1,000 has been paid to 1,482 frontline staff in MUH deemed eligible under the terms of the payment announced last January. The payment is being made in recognition of their work during the pandemic.
The matter was raised at last week’s HSE Regional Health Forum West meeting by Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne, who asked how many staff have yet to receive the payment.
Confirming that some have yet to get their payment, Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta University Health Care Group (which includes MUH) told Cllr Kilcoyne that the payment process for some agency workers, such as cleaners and caterers, is slower.
“In general that is the case because in most of our hospitals in the region cleaning and catering is provided on a contract basis by an agency.
“The staff working for those agencies, even though they are working in the hospital and in all likelihood are eligible for the payment, the process through which they get paid is slower than the payment to HSE employees.
“There is a process now in place so these payments can be made. The payment will have to be made to the person’s employer and then from the employer to the employee. That is where there are complications,” he said.
Almost 12 months
As part of the pandemic payment, eligible employees must have been employed between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, and have been identified as working in Covid-19-exposed healthcare environments.
Cllr Kilcoyne told the meeting that he was critical of the Government for announcing the pandemic payment in January of this year, and almost 12 months later some workers have yet to receive it.
“They [Government] never said when this was announced that it may be a year before you get your money. By the way it was announced, people were of the opinion that it [the payment] would be in their wages the following week. Here we are almost 12 months on and there is still an issue about when people will get it.
“I am not blaming the HSE for this … but they [the Government] are great at announcing things and not telling half the story. It is part of the problem; we only get half the information.
“Hopefully these people through their unions will be able to put the pressure on to get this sorted,” he told the meeting.
Breda Crehan-Roche, Chief Officer, Community Healthcare West also informed the meeting that to date all Community Healthcare West healthcare staff in Mayo facilities who were deemed eligible to qualify were processed for the pandemic payment. She said the total processed for Community Healthcare West to date is 4,760 employees.
Ms Crehan-Roche also explained that there is an appeals process in place for any staff who were deemed ineligible and that a large number of appeals have been submitted nationally across the HSE. She added that a timeline for review of the appeal applications and any resultant payments has not yet been established, or any timelines indicated to Community Healthcare West.