Dear First Minister,
As you know, there have been deaths within the nursing health and care workforce due to the COVID-19 virus. Each one was a huge loss to our profession, to their communities and their loved ones and I know you have joined us in sending condolences to their families. All of these staff have died in the service of our health and care system.
I am aware that we have made representations on this issue through both the Welsh Partnership Forum Business Committee and at the Health and Social Services Ministers’ weekly trade union meeting, with an understanding that this sensitive matter extends across the Welsh Government and the UK Treasury. However, I felt compelled to raise with you my concern that there is yet to be an announcement from the Welsh Government on Death in Service benefits and financial support for the families of those who have died fighting the pandemic. It is important that the matter is addressed in a timely manner to provide comfort for the workforce and their families.
The Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced on 21 April 2020 that the Scottish Government would guarantee that: “all staff affected by COVID-19 as a result of providing frontline treatment for COVID-19 patients will receive the full lump sum and survivor’s pension benefits available under the terms of the NHS pension scheme: this includes permanent and fixed-term staff who are not members of the pension scheme, NHS Bank and NHS Locum staff”.
With Scotland forging ahead with initiatives to support all members of the healthcare workforce it is important that the Welsh workforce, who do not have an NHS pension do not feel disadvantaged. In these unprecedent times, all members of the health and care workforce should be supported.
I believe that the Welsh Government should ensure there are measures in place that will provide Death in Service benefits, including a lump sum and pension benefits, to members of the workforce that are not on the NHS pension scheme.
Therefore, I seek your reassurance that the Welsh Government is committed to supporting the families whose loved ones have died whilst fighting the pandemic, whether they had an NHS pension scheme or not.
I would appreciate a response to this letter.
Helen Whyley, RN MA
Director, RCN Wales
Page last updated - 10/07/2020