Frontline workers must receive long Covid supports – Naughten

Deputy Denis Naughten has called on the Government to ensure all frontline workers who contracted Covid through their employment, and who were subsequently forced out of work due to long Covid symptoms, are able to avail of supports until they are fit to return to work.

“At present, 120 frontline healthcare workers with long Covid are availing of a special leave scheme which will lapse in just thirty days. There are hundreds more frontline workers with long Covid, including healthcare workers who contracted Covid since November 15th 2021, who are now left without specific supports,” explained Denis Naughten.

While the Government has been considering designating long Covid as an occupational illness since the Regional TDs secured the unanimous approval of the Dáil for such action last November, a decision is still awaited.

Responding to Deputy Naughten in the Dáil, Minister Heather Humphreys said, “Ultimately, it will be a Government decision as to how we deal with this matter, because, as we know, it was a whole-of-government response to Covid”.

Denis Naughten pointed out that frontline workers were publicly acknowledged in Dáil Éireann during the pandemic as risking both their lives, and that of their families, all in order to provide vital services to the rest of the country, saying they cannot now be ignored when they need our support.

“We need to have long Covid designated as an occupational illness and if that does not happen in the coming weeks, we need to see government implement a suite of supports for staff unable to work due to these debilitating symptoms,” concluded Deputy Naughten.