Reacting to the full details of the Scottish Death in Service benefits scheme, BMA Chair Lewis Morrison said:
“Doctors and the wider healthcare workforce have risen to the challenge presented by the COVID pandemic with incredible dedication and commitment. The very least they need to know is that, should the very worst happen and they die from COVID as a result of doing their job, their loved ones will be cared for and receive the long term support that we are all agreed they should have.
“Today’s welcome announcement from the Scottish Government ensures that is unequivocally the case for all. It is something the BMA have pushed for on an almost daily basis, and we are glad that in Scotland the Government have listened and responded.
“Perhaps most importantly today’s scheme covers those who have had to leave the pension scheme. It means families won’t simply get a one-off payment, but the lifetime benefits that are a key advantage of the NHS pensions scheme. That will include some of those at the lower end of the pay scale who may not be protected due to being unable to afford scheme membership, the new volunteers who are putting themselves forward onto the frontline and those members of existing workforce who due to range of issues are less well assured. These are in some ways the people taking the biggest risks, and it is undeniably right that their dependents should receive the long term security the NHS pension scheme provides in the tragic event of their death. It also closes loop holes for bank staff and locums – including locum GPs - whose family may have been denied access to death in service cover simply on the basis of the day they died.
“Of course, we very much hope that these provisions will never be required, but the simple fact of their existence will provide peace of mind to many faced with the stress of working in hugely challenging circumstances. More than anything it sends an important signal that the Scottish Government are committed to protecting staff across the health service and doing the right thing for them. We very much hope that approach feeds through into the long term approach to the health service and the incredible people that staff it.”
See the full scheme on SPPA (Scottish Public Pensions Agency) website.
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.
For further information please contact:
Phone: 0131 247 3018
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Email: Tim Jays ([email protected])