The Royal College of Nursing is calling on the government to extend the life assurance scheme for nursing staff contracting Covid-19 at work.

Despite Covid-19 infection rates rising and growing numbers of staff catching the virus, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance scheme, which entitles families of nursing staff and others who die from Covid-19 to financial support, ended this week.

Nursing staff who die from Covid-19 after this week will not be entitled to a life assurance payment worth £60,000 despite ongoing loss of life.

The College said that 10 health and care workers died in the three months to March 5th this year following workplace exposure, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

The pandemic is far from over

In a letter to Sajid Javid, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen says: “Hundreds of health and care staff have lost their life to Covid-19 which they contracted as part of their vital work on the frontline during the pandemic.

“The overriding principle must be that no member of nursing staff who loses their life this year should be afforded any less respect and family support than one who died in 2020 or 2021.

“The pandemic is far from over. Now is not the right time to remove the reassurance that if the worst were to happen to nursing staff delivering frontline care, their loved ones would be compensated. I urge you to delay the end of the scheme until a time when nursing staff and all health and care workers are assured that their lives are not at such risk from the pandemic.”