Senedd members call for action as NHS staff with Long Covid face pay cut
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
Hospital employees who “went the extra mile during the pandemic” but have been unable to return to work due to suffering from Long-Covid now face having their pay halved.
However, individual cases could still be considered on a “case-by-case” consideration to receive support NHS staff the Welsh Government confirmed today.
A last-minute extension to help to continue for another three months at the end of March had been granted by the Health Minister Eluned Morgan, but wages were reduced by half from July 1.
The issue was raised in the Long-Covid cross party group in the Senedd last week.
Only one in four UK patients hospitalised with Covid say they’re fully recovered 12 months later.
Women, the overweight and those who had been mechanically ventilated in in hospital have a greater risk of suffering from Long-Covid, research recently found.
The most common Long-Covid symptoms includes fatigue, muscle pain, physically slowing down, poor sleep, and breathlessness.
Championing nurses and other medical staff, Ynys Môn MS Rhys ap Iorwerth said many NHS employees now faced “uncertainty” over paying their bills, rents and mortgages.
The Plaid Cymru politician who is a co-chair of the group said: “These are the people who want to work in the health service, who went the extra mile during the pandemic to care for us, and hope to do so again in the future.
“But their health does not allow then to do so at he moment, due to them having very likely contracted Covid in the workplace.
Some are still suffering from Long-Covid, and it would be good to let them know they are being supported.”
Co-chair Hefin Davis called on the Minister and NHS Wales to “urgently” meet with trade unions to come to an agreement whereby those who are still ill to return to work are supported financially until they are ready to return.
“They are dedicated front-line health staff who worked through the pandemic and deserve no less.” He added.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said “NHS Wales and trade unions had agreed the arrangements for Covid sickness absence from July 1 to support the transition back to existing national terms and conditions for all absences.”
They added that “Organisations could look at individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis and apply different pay arrangements.”
A spokesperson for Unison Cymru said “Unfortunately we won’t be commenting on this issue at this time.”
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