BMA says Government’s Death in Service Benefit for families of healthcare workers may not go far enough

by BMA media team Press release from the BMA.
Location: UK
Published: Monday 27 April 2020

Not only will families of doctors who die as a result of Covid-19, be left grief-stricken, many may also face longer-term financial difficulties says the BMA.

This afternoon the Government announced the headline of a life assurance scheme for health and social care workers who die from Covid-19 in the course of essential frontline work. Their dependents will be paid a single sum of 60 thousand pounds.

The BMA says the sum, made in today’s long overdue announcement from the Secretary of State, may provide some immediate financial relief, but it could leave families bereft of longer-term financial security, particularly if their loved one was not a current member of the NHS pension scheme or had only recently joined the scheme.

As the number of health workers to tragically die from Covid-19 continues to rise, the doctors’ union had persistently lobbied the Government to provide all NHS staff with full death in service benefits regardless of whether they are a member of the NHS Pension Scheme or not.

Whilst the Health Secretary has yet to reveal the full details of the life assurance scheme, the BMA must be assured it goes far enough.

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chair, said:

“Losing a loved one during these horrific times will be difficult enough for families, without the added pressure of losing what may be their main source of income, leaving them unsure of what the future holds.”

“Whilst this single payment may seem a sizeable sum, it comes nowhere near compensating families for the lifetime income their loved one may have earned if they hadn’t died prematurely, fighting this crisis on the frontline. This is particularly true for young or recently qualified staff.”

“Increasing numbers of families are dealing with the loss of a loved one as the death toll for front line workers rises, they should not also face a future without financial security. The BMA will be examining closely the detail of the Government’s life assurance scheme.”



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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