SIPTU members were incensed by the omission of SIPTU Health representatives from the Oireachtas Health Committee today (Tuesday, 9th February) where the situation of Covid-19 frontline health workers was discussed and debated.
SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “The reality is that Covid-19 has not been selective in whom it infects. However, it appears that the Committee has been selective in the submissions they sought and heard. Some 70% of those infected workers had no voice at the proceedings.”
“As has been widely reported, health care workers in Ireland have suffered greatly as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a total of 24,250 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections of health care workers with the vast majority of those working in support grades particularly those working as Health Care Assistants. Health Care Assistants were recently deemed to be the most at risk in a seroprevalence study examining the levels of anti-body evidence of Covid-19 infection among healthcare workers at St James’s Hospital in Dublin and University Hospital Galway (UHG).
“For these unsung heroes not to have their voice heard in our national parliament is absolutely disgraceful and sadly suggests that workers are not all in this together. While it is right that the voices of nurses and doctors are heard, the health service is a multi-disciplinary team. Our members are going through the same fears and anxieties over the roll out of the vaccine, the same pressures on staffing levels and the same realities as all other workers in the health service.”
He added: “SIPTU members are calling on the Committee to rectify this glaring oversight and to acknowledge the essential contribution of all SIPTU members working in our health service, as a matter of urgency.”