Frontline nurses and midwives experiencing long-term Covid symptoms are not getting the medical or employment supports they need, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Annual Delegate Conference has warned.
The union’s conference will hear from four nurses tomorrow who will outline ongoing severe symptoms from a Covid infection months later, including extreme exhaustion, brain fog, difficulty breathing, heart problems and vision impairment.
The conference will debate two motions relating to long Covid. The union is calling for Government and employer measures including tailored medical supports, research into long COVID impacts, a guarantee that healthcare workers with long Covid won’t face income cuts, and flexible rehabilitation back into work.
More than 7,500 nurses and midwives have contracted Covid-19 in Ireland – over a quarter of all cases among healthcare workers.
INMO President and nurse Ms Karen McGowan said: “Long Covid is a condition that takes so much out of people and they’re simply not being treated fairly. We are all looking forward to a time after this pandemic – but we cannot forget those who took great risks to provide care and are being left in the lurch.
“The very least they deserve is long-term certainty about their employment and income rights, and a guarantee of medical care.”
INMO General Secretary Ms Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Covid can be a long-term, debilitating illness. People need to know where they stand, medically and in terms of work.
“The HSE need to lead the charge on this and implement the measures that our members are calling for. This is a condition people are acquiring at work, and their workplaces need to step up and give them the support they need.”