GPs will not be included in the bonus payment for frontline healthcare workers which was agreed by the Government on Wednesday.
As reported in The Irish Times, a spokesperson for the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the €1,000 pandemic bonus will not be paid to GPs despite their role throughout the pandemic.
The new bonus was announced on Wednesday along with a new public holiday to recognise the efforts of the country during the Covid-19 pandemic and to remember those who lost their lives.
The once-off holiday will take place on Friday, March 18th of this year. The holiday will be followed by a day of remembrance and recognition, to take place over St Patrick’s weekend.
Furthermore, a permanent public holiday on which employees are entitled to a paid day off is to be established from next year in celebration of Imbolc/St Brigid’s day.
This comes as the Government is facing calls from home carers, pharmacy workers, frontline staff in private hospitals and other groups to be included in the scheme.
When asked, the Department of Health was unable to give a definitive list of qualifying roles and grades for the bonus.
Instead, the department pointed towards a press release which detailed categories of workers.
According to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, “roughly 100,000 healthcare workers” are expected to receive a bonus under the planned sceme.
Worker's representatives have called on the Government to provide more clarity on the scheme.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have argued the scheme should be extended to other workers.
Easing of restrictions
As the Government face calls to provide clarity on the pandemic bonus, it is also expected that restrictions will be eased.
The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet on Thursday to consider the current Covid-19 situation.
It is expected that the advisory group will support the lifting of restrictions, which is likely to start next week.
According to The Irish Times, coalition figures believe the momentum on unwinding restrictions is now near-irreversible.
On Wednesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin told his Fianna Fáil colleagues that over the coming days he would make things “very clear . . . for now and also for the medium term”.