Bereaved family members of health and social care workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus will be entitled to a £60,000 payment, ministers have announced.
The new life insurance scheme, developed after discussions with health and social care unions, will cover frontline workers in England, including NHS staff; employees of publicly-funded care homes and home care providers; and directly-employed care workers.
Wales is implementing the same scheme and arrangements are being considered in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Nothing can make up for the tragic loss of a loved one during this pandemic. We owe a huge debt to those who die in service to our nation and are doing everything we can to protect them.
“Financial worries should be the last thing on the minds of their families so in recognition of these unprecedented circumstances we are expanding financial protection to NHS and social care workers delivering publicly funded care on the frontline.
“We will continue to strive night and day to provide them with the support and protection they need and deserve to keep them safe as they work tirelessly to save lives.”
Over 100 health and social care workers have lost their lives to COVID-19, including 16 care workers who have died in hospital in England.
A minute’s silence was held this morning to remember those who have died.
Commenting on the announcement, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “It’s only right the families of all those who worked for the NHS or in social care, and who’ve sadly lost their lives to the virus, are properly provided for.
“All the money in the world can’t replace a loved one. Nor can it lessen the deep grief relatives are experiencing.
“But providing financial security for the families of all those who’ve paid the ultimate price for their professionalism and dedication is the very least we can do.”