A “high number” of healthcare workers have applied to the appeals process established for those excluded from the special pandemic recognition award (SPRA), this newspaper has been told. However, a HSE spokesperson said details regarding the number and nature of the appeals would not be released until all reviews were complete.
The SPRA payment of €1,000 was introduced by the Government as a way of recognising frontline health workers for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic. Discussions over which staff were eligible, including section 38 employees and agency workers, continued throughout last year.
According to the HSE, 138,625 HSE and section 38 staff have been paid the SPRA. Some 85,940 were HSE staff.
The appeals process was established to provide a forum for employees who felt aggrieved by their exclusion and to review the written submissions of individuals who were not approved for the pandemic recognition payment.
“This appeal board is independent of the HSE,” said the spokesperson. “The appeals board is making significant progress in reaching decisions on the appeals submitted.”
They added: “The board have committed to contacting each individual applicant and his/her manager to inform of their decision in relation to the appeals received, however, due to the high number of applicants and the time taken to consider each case, it has been decided not to release the outcome of the appeal process on an individual basis until such time as the review is complete for all applicants.”