Families of NHS staff who die on coronavirus frontline to get £60,000
Matt Hancock announced the scheme at the Downing Street press conference (PA)
The families of NHS and social care staff who die as a result of their work responding to the coronavirus outbreak will get £60,000 in compensation, Matt Hancock has announced.
The Health Secretary made the announcement after it was revealed almost 100 of the UK's Covid-19 fatalities are frontline health workers.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street press briefing, he said: "I feel a deep personal sense of duty that we must care for their loved ones.
"Today, I am able to announce that the Government is setting up a life assurance scheme for NHS and social care frontline colleagues.
"Families of staff who die from coronavirus in the course of their essential frontline work will receive a £60,000 payment.
"Of course, nothing replaces the loss of a loved one but we want to do everything we can to support families who are dealing with this grief.”
The announcement came after a cross party-group of more than 50 MPs wrote to Boris Johnson calling for him to launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers.
Mr Hancock added: "As a Government, we are looking closely at other professions that work on the front line against coronavirus, who also do not have access to such schemes, to see where this may be required."
So far 21,092 people have died in hospital with coronavirus in the UK, a daily increase of 360, of which 82 were NHS staff, and 16 were care workers.
The health secretary said: “This crisis has shown this country values so much our health and social care workers.”
The Cabinet minister also urged Brits to continue to go hospital for non-coronavirus treatment, as he revealed A&E attendances were down by more than 50% year-on-year.
He added: “As the number of hospitalisations from coronavirus begins to fall, I can announce that starting tomorrow, we’ll begin the restoration of other NHS services starting with the most urgent like cancer care and mental health support.
“The exact pace of the restoration will be determined by local circumstance on the ground according to local need and according to the amount of the coronavirus cases that that hospital is having to deal with.”
Labour's Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders said: “It is welcome that the Government has listened to workforce representatives and ensured that death in service benefits are available to everyone working in the NHS and social care sector.
“Now the Government must finally get a grip over PPE supplies so that NHS and care staff aren’t putting their lives on the line to do their job and protect the rest of us.”