Extension of NHS death in service benefits to all healthcare workers is the least we can do

Only right that proper provision is made for families

Commenting on the government announcement today (Monday) that NHS death-in-service benefits are to be extended to all health and care staff who die from contracting Covid-19, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“It’s only right the families of all those who worked for the NHS or in social care, and who’ve sadly lost their lives to the virus, are properly provided for.

“Until now, the relatives of any low-paid health worker who died and had opted out of the NHS pension scheme would’ve received nothing. Nor would the families of care workers on precarious contracts. Thankfully now that wrong has been put right.

“Until their untimely deaths, all were looking after patients, saving lives, caring for the elderly and the vulnerable in our hospitals and care homes. Putting themselves in harm’s way, while most of us were safe at home.

“All the money in the world can’t replace a loved one. Nor can it lessen the deep grief relatives are experiencing.

“But providing financial security for the families of all those who’ve paid the ultimate price for their professionalism and dedication is the very least we can do.

“At 11am tomorrow, the nation will take a moment to pay a silent tribute to all workers who’ve lost their lives during the pandemic. Now at least their families won’t be worrying about how to pay for funerals and will have some financial peace of mind.”

Notes to editors:
– On Tuesday 28 April, the nation is to observe a minute’s silence to remember all health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus. The tribute is being held on International Workers’ Memorial Day which every year commemorates workers who have died around the globe.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in both the public and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Garfield Myrie M: 07432 741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk