Unions demand money for healthcare workers with lung covid

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Healthcare workers demonstrate at the court in The Hague
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How much money should healthcare workers with lung covid receive from the state and who is eligible for a financial arrangement? These questions are the subject of preliminary relief proceedings brought by trade unions FNV and CNV against the state, which were before the court in The Hague this afternoon.

The unions and the state have been talking about a financial arrangement for healthcare workers with lung covid for some time. Since the start of the corona crisis, the unions have been pushing for financial support for healthcare workers who have been affected by corona during their work. The cabinet is working on a scheme, but according to the trade unions it is too little and too slow.

150 million euros

On 31 January, the Senate passed a motion calling on the cabinet to reserve 150 million euros for this group. The government is working on a financial arrangement, but it is not yet clear what it will look like.

There is still uncertainty about the amount of the compensation and the conditions for claiming it. The cabinet has announced that it is only intended for patients who became ill in the first wave of infection. But the unions do not want to wait any longer and demand that the scheme applies to all healthcare workers who were employed in 2020, before the vaccines were available. They hope to enforce that quickly with the summary proceedings.

No face masks

Not only the unions and lawyers were present in court, but also several healthcare workers with lung covid. Monique van Gijssel was already there an hour before the session started. She worked in a nursing home and fell ill in April 2020, after a new resident came in who had corona. “We didn’t have face masks, there weren’t any.”

Tjarda van der Meer-Hartstra fell ill in December 2020 and is angry that a scheme for patients in the first wave is now only being considered. “I think it’s so unfair. Because of course I wasn’t vaccinated either, those vaccinations weren’t there at all at the time.” She worked as a nurse in the corona ward. There were protective equipment, but they were often used up, she says.

People who were unable to travel to court due to health problems could follow the hearing from home via a video link.

Earlier we spoke to Roy, an ambulance employee who contracted corona during his work. He tells what complaints he still had after a long time:

Ambulance employee Roy got corona and is now threatening to end up in WIA due to lung covid

According to the unions, the state has not adequately protected medical personnel in the first year of the corona pandemic and guidelines have been adjusted that conflict with hygiene and occupational health and safety guidelines. In doing so, the state would have acted unlawfully.

The main demand of the unions is financial compensation for healthcare providers with lung covid complaints in the amount of 22,839 euros per person. They also want a discussion with the cabinet to ensure that healthcare providers who have become ill after the first corona wave are also entitled to compensation.

‘Not liable’

The state’s attorney argued that the state sympathizes with the health care providers and is grateful for their efforts. Nevertheless, the case does not lend itself to collective summary proceedings, the state believes: the circumstances of the care providers would vary too much and the case would be too complicated to settle through summary proceedings. The state is prepared to provide financial support to a certain group on the basis of a moral obligation, but is not legally liable.

According to the lawyer, there will be more clarity in April about the content of the scheme for healthcare workers who contracted lung covid in the first wave. According to the lawyers, this is separate from this summary proceedings. The District Court of The Hague will rule on the demands of the trade unions on 8 March.

  • Cabinet is working on compensation for healthcare personnel with lung covid
  • Cured yet sick: the ‘forgotten’ pandemic of lung covid
  • Cabinet contributes to future fund for healthcare workers with lung covid
  • Economy

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