The families of doctors putting their lives on the line in the fight against Covid-19 in Wales risk being left with inadequate financial support should the worst happen because of failure by the Welsh Government to ensure proper death in service cover for all staff during the pandemic, BMA Cymru Wales says today.
As the number of health workers to tragically die from COVID-19 continues to rise, the doctors’ union has written to the Welsh Government to urge that all NHS staff are given full death in service benefits regardless of whether they are a member of the NHS Pension Scheme or not. The union is calling for a simple guarantee to all hard-working healthcare workers.
Under current rules, the families of returning doctors, medical students and newly-qualified doctors, locum doctors and those who have opted out of the pension scheme all receive no – or a considerably reduced – benefit should they die while trying to save the lives of others.
For locums specifically, this means if they die on a day they are not scheduled to work, even though they may have contracted COVID-19 while treating COVID-positive patients, their families are not entitled to full benefits.
Dr David Bailey, BMA’s Welsh Council Chair said:
“We cannot be clearer - death in service cover should be extended for all healthcare workers, to give them peace of mind for their families and loved ones should the worst happen.
“We strongly believe that any member of staff providing healthcare services should be covered by these provisions, and that the dependants of NHS staff who sadly die as a result of this pandemic receive their full death in service entitlement – irrespective of whether they are an active member of the NHS pension scheme or not.
“The dependents of staff who die in service during the pandemic should reasonably expect not to be disadvantaged after losing their family member purely because they are not in the NHSPS. These families will not only have lost a loved one in tragic circumstances, they will have also lost the financial security the loved one would have provided well into the future.
“We urge Welsh Government to follow Scotland’s lead and ensure that the dependants of all those who are putting themselves at risk on the front line, at the request of the Welsh Government, are entitled to the death in service benefits of the NHS pension scheme, as they deserve.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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Email: Stacey Snow ([email protected])