The government has extended its bereavement scheme to include care staff, all NHS support staff and carers.
The scheme offers families of NHS support staff and social care workers who die as result of contracting coronavirus indefinite leave to remain, free of charge.
It previously applied to doctors and nurses from abroad but not cleaners, porters or carers.
It applies to all hospital support workers, including cleaners and porters, social care staff and care home workers, the Home Office said.
NHS workers from abroad, however, will still be expected to pay a surcharge to use the health service.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Every death in this crisis is a tragedy, and sadly some NHS support staff and social care workers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of saving the lives of others.
“When I announced the introduction of the bereavement scheme in April, I said we would continue to work across government to look at ways to offer further support.
“Today we are extending the scheme to NHS support staff and social care workers.
“We want to ensure families have the support they need and so this will be effective immediately and retrospectively.”
Care England, has welcomed the Government’s announcement, Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said:
“Unfortunately this pandemic has taken the lives of many of our wonderful care staff. Care England wants to acknowledge the Government for making this scheme available to all care workers. This is a tangible way in which they have shown that they see health and social care as to interdependent systems, and they recognise the value of all health and care staff in whatever place they work”.
Launched in April, the life assurance scheme was initially for health workers in the NHS and independent sector. As of yesterday, it has been extended to NHS support staff and social care workers. The scheme recognises the increased risk faced by staff during the crisis and covers corona virus related deaths of workers in frontline health and social care roles during the outbreak. A payment of £60,000 will be made to the estate of the eligible individuals who die from coronavirus contracted during their frontline essential work. More information is available here https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-and-social-care-coronavirus-life-assurance-scheme-2020-0
“Care England welcomes the fact that CQC registered providers are eligible regardless of whether they are publicly funded or not”.