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Thu, 3 December 2020

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Exclusive: 200 Families Of Frontline Health Workers Who Died From Coronavirus Have Received £60,000 NHS Payments

Exclusive: 200 Families Of Frontline Health Workers Who Died From Coronavirus Have Received £60,000 NHS Payments
3 min read

More than 200 families of front-line NHS workers who died during the first coronavirus peak will receive £60,000 bereavement payments from the government, amid warnings from unions that many relatives might still not know they are entitled to make claims.

Figures released to PoliticsHome by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) show that so far 205 claims have been accepted for the pay-out which was set up by government after doctors, nurses, social care and hospital staff died from the virus earlier this year.

Tragic cases include Dr Alfa Saadu, 68, a medical director at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex and Ealing NHS Trust, Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician in his 70s, who worked at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, nurse Areema Nasreen, 36, who worked for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and hospital linen porter Mike Brown, 61, who had worked at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) NHS Foundation Trust.

Unison, which represents social care and hospital staff, said they welcomed the fact more than 200 families are getting financial support but said that hundreds of grieving households are still yet to claim. It is estimated that 620 front-line health workers in England and Wales have died from coronavirus since March.  

A spokesperson from DHSC said they are are writing to employers who have notified a staff death but for whom a claim has not yet been received, to raise awareness of the scheme and ask that they contact the family.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “Every death from this virus is a tragedy and our deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has lost loved ones during the pandemic.

“The NHS & Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme provides financial security to the families of NHS and social care staff who tragically die from coronavirus contracted through the course of their work.

“We are writing to relevant employers to raise awareness of the scheme and to help ensure eligible claims are made.”

As of 4 November, 236 claims have been received in England. 205 claims have been accepted for payment and the remainder are going through the stages of being processed and assessed. No claims have so far been rejected.

Receiving the payment from the scheme does not imply any liability for the death on behalf of the employer nor does it prevent any subsequent legal action.

Eligibility does not depend on nationality or residency status.

Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea told PoliticsHome: "No amount of money can ever replace loved ones lost to the virus or ease the immense pain bereaved families are experiencing. But the compensation can make the world of difference to families struggling financially.

"The news that more than two hundred families have now received money is welcome, but there are hundreds of other grieving households yet to claim.

"The government should be doing everything within its power to contact all the families of care and health workers who've sadly died to make sure no-one in need is missing out.

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