The NHS & Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme provides additional financial protection for frontline staff who are employed to deliver care in environments that carry an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. The temporary scheme pays a £60,000 tax-free lump sum should an NHS employee die as a result of COVID-19 contracted through their work.
The RCN has been calling for clearer guidance in relation to whether student nurses are included in the scheme. Health Education England (HEE) has now updated its guidance to provide greater clarity.
Chair of the RCN Students Committee Heather Massie said: “We welcome the clarification that student nurses in England are covered by the scheme, just like all other NHS staff. It’s an important issue which we have consistently raised with government.
“All nursing students must be protected when on clinical placements during COVID-19 as they are delivering care for people and working in environments that carry an increased risk of contracting the virus.
“Thousands of student nurses have stepped up to support the NHS; it’s only right they know they’re eligible for the same protection as their colleagues.”
Clinical placements are governed by formal agreements between universities and the host organisation. Health care students are therefore covered by the scheme rules as eligible individuals, just like other frontline NHS staff.
Students on paid placements may also join the NHS Pension Scheme, which provides additional death in service benefits.