Ms Sugden said it was vital to ensure that as many eligible workers as possible received the payment, but efforts to start making payments must be stepped up.
“Those working in independent health and social care have been waiting for this payment for many months now,” Ms Sugden said.
“While I appreciate that it takes time to make sure no-one is left out, this needs to go hand-in-hand with the scheme’s implementation.
“I have questioned Minister Swann several times about delivery of the payment and which organisations have been contacted to ensure everyone eligible receives it. He has assured me that all the appropriate organisations have been contacted, but I have been hearing locally that some workers remain in the dark.
“Health and social care staff not directly employed by the NHS are every bit as deserving of this recognition as other staff employed within the health service. They too have worked tirelessly and have sacrificed their family lives, time and often their own health to care for people during the pandemic.
“We owe them our thanks and our respect. This payment is a good place to start, but we must make sure its delivery is expedited and includes anyone who is eligible.”