Families of some healthcare staff who have returned or have been fast-tracked to the frontline to help the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic could receive significantly reduced ongoing financial support if they die in service compared to some their colleagues.
Last week, the Welsh Government announced that all families of healthcare staff that die in service as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic would be eligible to receive £60,000 as a “Death in Service” payment and that this would be in addition to any other benefits that healthcare staff may be entitled to as members of the NHS pension scheme.
However, the families of medical students and graduates, junior doctors, locums and retired doctors who have all either returned or been fast-tracked to the frontline may not receive the same level of financial support because they were not on the NHS Pension Scheme.
Plaid Cymru have echoed calls from BMA Cymru Wales to demand that all NHS staff be given full death in service benefits regardless of whether they are a member of the NHS Pension Scheme or not.
Don’t penalise the families of doctors that die on the #COVID19 frontline @WelshGovernment – do the right thing and provide full death in service cover for all staff risking their lives to save others https://t.co/ekd1w8rC1T
— BMA Cymru Wales (@BMACymru) April 23, 2020
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:
“Whilst the Welsh Government’s announcement confirming that the families of our healthcare workers will be eligible for a one-off Death in Service payment of £60,000 is of course to be welcomed, we need parity amongst all healthcare workers.
“The families of these doctors who are all putting their lives on the line risk being left with inadequate financial support if their loved one dies during this pandemic.
“We’re talking about healthcare staff with less than two years’ service behind them – junior doctors, international medical graduates, and retired doctors returning to work during the pandemic.
“Plaid Cymru joins BMA Cymru Wales in calling for the Welsh Government to guarantee ongoing support to the dependants of healthcare workers who do not currently qualify for additional benefits due to the status of their NHS pension.
“We will forever be indebted to our healthcare workers who have worked so heroically during this time of crisis to keep our country as safe and as well as possible – the least Welsh Government can do is ensure all healthcare staff and their families are protected during these challenging times.”