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The Royal College of Nursing has urged the government to commit to providing financial support to the families of nursing staff who have died due to Covid-19.
In a letter to the prime minister, RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair called for urgent reassurance that financial assistance would be available to those who had lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic.
Families of nurses who died were not only in mourning but now also faced financial hardship, she told Boris Johnson in the letter.
She highlighted the fact that more than 30 nursing staff had so far died as a result of coronavirus.
“Each one was a huge loss to our profession, to their communities and their loved ones. I cannot begin to imagine how their friends and families are feeling,” she wrote.
However, she said that – despite repeated calls from the RCN and others – the government had so far failed to make an announcement on death in service benefits and financial support for the families of those who had died fighting the pandemic.
“Our members deserve immediate reassurance from the UK government that it is committed to supporting families whose loved ones have died protecting us,” she said.
“I am deeply concerned there has yet to be announcement on this issue, particularly as some of these families will be facing financial difficulty as well as the loss of their loved one,” she added.
The RCN has called for all benefits to be retrospective from the start of the pandemic and said they must apply to all health and care staff “regardless of their length of service or the setting in which they were working”.
“This must include those who bravely returned to service and all students who join the fight against the pandemic,” said the letter.
The Department for Health and Social Care said it was looking into financial support currently available for families of NHS workers who died in service.
“The death of any NHS worker is a tragedy, and we are evaluating the existing financial support for families of those on the frontline,” said a spokesman.