MP’s call to compensate families of NHS workers who die after contracting coronavirus

Dr Dan Poulter has called for more help for the families of NHS workers who fall victim to coronavir

Dr Dan Poulter has called for more help for the families of NHS workers who fall victim to coronavirus. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Suffolk MP Dr Dan Poulter has signed an all-party letter from MPs demanding that families of NHS workers who die after contracting coronavirus should get compensation similar to that paid to armed forces personnel who die on active service.

A total of 50 MPs have signed the letter drafted by Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran. It has also been backed by 5,000 members of the public.

The MPs’ letter to the prime minister says: “Those on the frontline of this battle against coronavirus are heroes,” and advocates for the scheme to mirror that already in place for the armed forces. The scheme would include a lump sum upfront, a guaranteed income for their family, child payments to eligible children under 18 and contributions towards funeral costs.

The call follows reports that hundreds of doctors are less likely to return to the frontline or increase their hours because they fear their families will not be properly compensated if they lose their lives. The Coronavirus Compensation Scheme should be open to the families of those classified as key workers, notably NHS and social care staff, as well as teachers.

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Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Poulter said: “Those on the frontline, who are putting themselves selflessly in harm’s way every day to save others, deserve to know that their families will be supported and looked after if the worst happens.

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“A Coronavirus Compensation Scheme would provide security and comfort for those risking their lives in the face of COVID-19, although of course no money could ever compensate for any loss of life. That’s why I am calling on the government to introduce this compassionate compensation scheme without delay.”

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He said that while many NHS workers received death-in-service benefit in the form of a lump sum to dependants as part of their NHS pension, returning doctors and locums are not covered - and many practitioners have opted out of the NHS pension.

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The Coronavirus Compensation Scheme would be in addition to these existing benefits, and cover any frontline key worker who dies from coronavirus.

Among those who have signed the letter are Liberal Democrat acting leader Sir Ed Davey, former Tory minister Sir Mike Penning and Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Tracy Brabin.

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