Families to receive £40 million after frontline carer Covid deaths

·2-min read
The NHS has yet to reveal its workforce projection for the NHS alongside its long term plan (PA)
The NHS has yet to reveal its workforce projection for the NHS alongside its long term plan (PA)

Families of NHS and social care workers who died of Covid-19 will be paid more than £40 million but a quarter of families have yet to apply.

During the pandemic, ministers launched a coronavirus related life insurance scheme for NHS and care staff who died from the virus after working on the frontline.

The NHS Business Service Authority told the Health Service Journal it had made 613 payments of £60,000 to families of staff who had died, with another 62 pending.

This would take the total cost of the scheme to £40.5 million.

A total of 13 requests have been rejected so far as they were deemed ineligible.

The HSJ said the figures were less than three-quarters of the total number of frontline staff who died with the virus, based on a study by the Office for National Statistics.

From March to December last year 414 healthcare workers and 469 social care workers died with coronavirus.

The ONS’s most recent data said that among healthcare workers – including doctors, nurses and midwives, nurse assistants, porters and paramedics – men had a statistically significant higher rate of death involving covid-19 compared with the rate of death involving covid in the general working population.

It said: “Of the individual healthcare worker occupations nurses and nursing auxiliaries and assistants had significantly raised rates among both sexes.”

The life assurance scheme covers staff who provide hands-on personal care for people who have contracted coronavirus or who work in health or social care settings where the virus is present.

It was designed to recognise the increased risk faced by staff during the crisis and applies to staff in frontline roles during the pandemic.

NHS trusts have faced criticism for the lack of protection for staff during Covid. In the initial waves of the virus the demand for protective clothing meant some trusts struggled to have enough PPE.

The military was called in to distribute stock on a 24-hour basis and £15 billion was set aside to source PPE.

In June, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock told a parliamentary committee that it could not be proven that NHS staff had died of covid because of a lack of personal protective equipment.

He told MPs: “We’ve looked into this and there is no evidence that I have seen that a shortage of PPE provision led to anyone dying of covid. That’s from the evidence I have seen.”

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