McGrath asks for clarity on £500 payment delays to independent health staff
South Down MLA and SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has asked for clarity around a delay to the £500 payment to independent health and social care staff.
Mr McGrath said that while many health staff began receiving the payments from July his office had been inundated by staff in care homes, domiciliary care and private hospitals who had yet to receive it.
Following urging from Mr McGrath, Stormont’s Health Committee has called on Health Minister Robin Swann to brief the committee around the delays to payments.
The South Down MLA said: “All of our health staff across the various sectors involved have done tremendous work during the pandemic. They have made sacrifices and pushed themselves to the limit in the toughest circumstances imaginable to make sure that our people got the care they deserve.
“Many staff put themselves at risk of contracting the virus and passing it on to their family and friends, placing themselves under huge strain in the process.
“While I’m glad that many staff have already received their payment, it’s grossly unfair that large numbers have been left waiting as a result of administrative issues.
“You can’t hand this money out to some and leave others sitting on their hands with nothing more than an apology.
“The problems in administering these payments raise issues around the quality of information stored by the Department of Health on our independent health staff and the planning that went into delivering this scheme.
“I will be seeking assurances from Health Minister Robin Swann around the delivery of this scheme to ensure that everyone gets the payment they are entitled to as soon as possible,” added Colin McGrath.