HEALTHCARE WORKERS RISKING LIVES! – without ‘death in service’ benefits guaranteed says BMA

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Junior doctors picket during their strike – they were the first to warn that the Tory government would stop at nothing to smash the NHS

THE BMA (British Medical Association) said yesterday that ‘frustration grows’ over the government’s failure to guarantee that the families of healthcare workers who lose their lives during the fight against Covid-19 will be financially supported in these tragic circumstances.

The BMA is demanding urgent answers from Westminster to its calls for all healthcare workers to receive full death in service benefits available under the NHS pension scheme, regardless of their length of service or whether they are a current member of the NHS Pension Scheme or not.

The doctors’ union has persistently lobbied on the issue and last week sent a second letter to the Chancellor setting out the association’s key asks.

However, as the death toll continues to rise, the government is yet to respond to the letter, nor has it offered any detail on its plans.

This means the families of many healthcare workers risk being left without vital financial support should the very worst happen to their loved ones on the frontline of the pandemic.

Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chair, said: ‘Another week has passed, more healthcare workers have lost their lives and yet the government continues to drag its heels.

‘This is particularly galling for the many doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who continue to put themselves at risk to protect and care for patients against this deadly virus, with the knowledge that their families will be provided no financial support if the worst should happen.

‘This really is a shambolic, unacceptable and frankly shameful situation.

‘To lose a father, wife, mother or husband is tragic enough, but to then face severe financial hardship because there is not adequate support available is absolutely dreadful.

‘Last week the Scottish government committed to providing a comprehensive death in service package for all NHS workers, so why has the Westminster government so far failed to give us the same assurances in other UK nations?

‘We need clarity from the government on this, and we need it now – too many families are being and will continue to be impacted financially if a loved one dies.’