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Scottish Labour hit out at lack of Covid death payments for healthcare workers

The schemes offer a one-off payment for families of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19 (Peter Byrne/PA)
The schemes offer a one-off payment for families of healthcare workers who have died from Covid-19 (Peter Byrne/PA)

Families of healthcare staff are “falling through the cracks” as figures reveal fewer than half of those eligible have yet to receive Covid-19 death-in-service benefits, Scottish Labour has said.

The NHS Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme and the Social Care Worker Death in Service scheme were established to ensure that families of key workers who died from the virus can access support.

Families are given a one-off payment of £60,000 to a named survivor of a health or social care worker who died after contracting coronavirus at work.

But despite 52 NHS workers dying from the virus from March 2020 to March 2022, just 19 successful claims have been made, according to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf who confirmed the figures in a written answer in response a question from Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie.

And while there were 84 Covid fatalities in social care workers, just 29 families have made successful claims.

Scottish Labour has challenged the Scottish Government to “pull out all the stops” to help affected families, particularly in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Baillie said: “It is simply heart-breaking that scores of families entitled to this payment are falling through the cracks.

“The least that these families, who have been torn apart by Covid, deserve are the pay-outs to which they are rightfully entitled.

First Minister’s Questions
Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said families are ‘falling through the cracks’ (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

“It is simply unacceptable that Humza Yousaf has allowed these families to fall through the cracks at a time of a cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s time that the SNP Government did the right thing and pulled out all the stops to help these people.”

In response to Ms Baillie’s written question asking for clarity on applications received to the Scottish Public Pensions Agency, Mr Yousaf said the organisation had received 18 applications to the NHS Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme, with 16 of those having receiving payment.

And 29 claims made to the Scottish Care Worker Death in Service Scheme in relation to Covid-19, with 28 receiving payment and one claim currently under consideration.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We fully encourage anyone who feels they are eligible for payment from this scheme to come forward and apply.

“We continue to provide vital support to all Health Boards with applications where all criteria for payment has been met.

“We expect Boards to notify us as soon as they are made aware that any staff member has died as a result of contracting Covid-19 in the course of their duties.”

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