The Daily Express has backed a call by over 50 MPs for a ‘Coronavirus Compensation Scheme’ to financially assist families of NHS workers who have died from the virus.
In a front page splash, the Express has revealed that more than 100 health professionals have died fighting coronavirus. The report outlines that 95 were NHS workers and nine worked in care homes.
The campaign is asking that grieving families of health workers would receive compensation in line with the support given to families of Armed Forces personnel – known as ‘death-in-service benefits’.
The scheme, if actualised, would give families a lump sum and would include an income for the victim’s families, child payments and funeral cost contributions.
The campaign began with a letter to the Prime Minister from Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran who voiced the nation’s gratitude to frontline workers and said, ‘while no money could ever compensate for any loss of life, setting up a Coronavirus Compensation Scheme would provide security and comfort for those risking their lives.’
Currently, the NHS pension scheme only applies to dependants of active members who die in service and provides a lump sum based on their pensionable pay. However, the actual sum varies widely per case; in particular, those who have recently retired receive much less – a gap highlighted by the campaign as many doctors and support workers have been called out of retirement to assist the NHS.
Dr Rinesh Parmar, Chair of the Doctors’ Association UK said: “We welcome the Daily Express campaign to support the families of dedicated healthcare workers who have tragically lost their lives whilst trying to look after us all.
“It is morally unacceptable that we ask healthcare workers to put their lives on the line and simultaneously deny their families death in service benefit if the worst were to happen and they were to succumb to coronavirus in the line of duty.”
The Department for Health and Social care has since said, “We are evaluating the existing financial support for families of those on the front-line.”
The Express has recently backed a knighthood campaign for army veteran Captain Tom Moore who has raised more than £27M for the NHS.
To sign MP Layla Moran’s petition, visit this site.
The Guardian launches project to remember health workers who have died from Covid-19
The Guardian has launched a project to pay tribute to the lost lives of health professionals working on the frontline to fight the coronavirus pandemic – to include doctors, nurses, care workers and volunteers.
The project was launched this week containing the profiles, photos and descriptions by families of 50 health workers who have sadly lost their lives to Covid-19.
The article urges readers to share with the paper the lives of those who have been missed from the database as it hopes to examine the deaths further.
The project falls in light of wide claims by families of deceased NHS workers that lack of personal protective equipment available to health workers has left their loved ones exposed on the frontline.
Nick Hopkins, executive editor for news, Guardian News & Media said: “This project hopes to document and remember NHS workers across the UK who have sadly lost their lives on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. As well as reporting the names of those in the news, we are also inviting people to share their stories in a collaborative effort to help provide the true scale of UK health workers who have lost their lives since the outbreak.”
The scheme has been replicated in The Guardian’s US and Australian titles, with the US publication creating a Lost on the Frontline project in conjunction with Kaiser Health News to make an interactive site remembering the lost US health workers.
The Guardian’s UK profiles for today can be viewed here.