The pandemic bonus payment

Sir, – I am sure that many have reservations about the Government spending taxpayers’ money to buy votes on the basis of a €1,000 payment to front-line healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers know that the nature of their profession can put them at risk and do not expect handouts of money that would be better spent on an underfunded HSE or charitable organisations.

My understanding is that this is costing the Government over €100 million of taxpayers’ money. This is an outrageous amount of money that could be better directed toward charities that were forced to close due to Covid over the past two years.

As a front-line healthcare worker, and a taxpayer, I wish to know who mandated the use of my taxes and sanctioned it toward the cost of a €1,000 “bonus” to other healthcare workers nationwide. – Yours, etc,

BARBARA DOWLING,

Blackrock,

Co Dublin.

Sir,– Will healthcare workers who have refused to get a Covid-19 vaccine qualify for the €1,000 pandemic payment? – Yours, etc,

PAUL DELANEY.

Dalkey,

Co Dublin.

A chara, – Your article "GPs will not get bonus payment for frontline healthcare workers" (News, January 20th) reveals the Government's sadly unsurprising attitude to GPs throughout the country.

Where elective hospitals can close beds and curtail planned procedures, or restructure to provide emergency care, GP practices continue to keep their doors open, vaccinating our children, monitoring our blood pressure, and keeping us out of hospital. When the pandemic started, these GP practices were the first point of contact for patients with Covid symptoms, and many, in the absence of direction or provision of resources, were seeing patients with makeshift personal protective equipment from DIY shops. They are the front line of the front line. They have suffered hugely with Fempi cuts (still not reversed), and at a time when the much-vaunted Sláintecare plan supposedly plans to create “integrated healthcare networks” in the community, this latest snub surely only isolates them further. It’s not about the money; it’s time to stop “othering” the GP practices. – Is mise,

Dr CONOR SKERRITT,

Consultant Anaesthetist,

National Orthopaedic

Hospital,

Dublin 12.

Sir, – A letter writer (January 21st) notes the exclusion of GPs and nurses from the pandemic bonus payments. With much profit having being made by GP practices through the provision of Covid-19 vaccines, is it unreasonable to expect the GP employers to pass on some of the profits from vaccines before expecting the public to fund a further bonus? – Yours, etc,

TJ FLAHIVE,

Co Kerry.