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Government approves Covid death in service payments for over 200 health workers’ families

By Isabel Shaw

15 Dec 2020

Over 200 families of health and social care staff who died after contracting Covid-19 at work have had their application for the £60,000 payment under the Government’s life assurance scheme approved, latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) show.

A spokesperson for DHSC told the Pharmacist that as of 9 December, 268 families had made an application and 228 of these had been approved.

The remaining 40 applications are still being processed and no claims made by families have been rejected so far, the spokesperson added.

The NHS life assurance scheme was announced in April to provide bereaved family members of eligible frontline NHS staff with £60,000.

At the time, the Government said families of community pharmacy staff who die after contracting Covid-19 would only qualify for the payment in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Health secretary Matt Hancock later announced on Twitter that he was ‘glad to be able to confirm’ that community pharmacists would be covered by the scheme.

The 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.

They added: ‘We are writing to relevant employers to raise awareness of the scheme and to help ensure eligible claims are made.’

‘At the frontline’

According to a report by Amnesty International, published in July, at least 540 health and social care workers have died from Covid-19 in England and Wales.

In April, the Pharmacist reported tributes from relatives and colleagues of seven pharmacy staff known to have died from the virus.

Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) said: ‘Like other health professionals, pharmacists were at the frontline of the efforts to tackle the pandemic. Our condolences remain with the families of those who passed away.

‘The PDA made sure that the compensation schemes included community pharmacists in scope and we appreciate that while it gives some support to them, it can never replace a loved one.’

Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: ‘It is right that pharmacists and their teams are included in the Government’s life assurance benefit for those healthcare workers who die from coronavirus and we hope that the scheme is made as easy as possible for families to apply for.

‘Frontline pharmacy staff have been vital to our NHS during this pandemic, dedicating themselves to serving patients and remaining open for the public throughout. All pharmacy teams need to be recognised as valued healthcare workers and given easy access to the life assurance scheme should the very worst happen.’

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