BMA responds to the death in service benefit announcement

The Government has announced that families of NHS and social care workers who pass away as a direct result of Covid-19 will be entitled to a £60,000 lump sum.

However, Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA pensions committee chair, has said:

“Whilst this single payment may seem a sizeable sum, it comes nowhere near compensating families for the lifetime income their loved one may have earned if they hadn’t died prematurely, fighting this crisis on the frontline. This is particularly true for young or recently qualified staff.”

“Increasing numbers of families are dealing with the loss of a loved one as the death toll for front line workers rises, they should not also face a future without financial security. The BMA will be examining closely the detail of the Government’s life assurance scheme.”

Source: https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/bma-says-government-s-death-in-service-benefit-for-families-of-healthcare-workers-may-not-go-far-enough

But the BMA has added that although the sum might provide some immediate financial relief for the short term, it could leave families deprived of longer-term financial security, particularly if their loved one was not a current member of the NHS Pension Scheme or had only recently joined the scheme.

The BMA states that:

“This restriction automatically excludes tens of thousands of new doctors at work in the UK NHS, the majority of whom have come to work here from abroad. GMC figures show that 33,729 doctors have joined the medical register in two years until the end of March 2020. Fifty-seven per cent of new registrants in this period are from abroad.”

Families of members of the NHS Pension Scheme will not be eligible to receive a regular survivor’s pension if the doctor has not paid into the scheme for at least two years.

Source: https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/bereaved-doctors-families-face-financial-shortfall

Information correct as at 29/04/2020. Further information is expected to be released on this, we will keep you up to date as and when new details emerge.

For further information about what other financial assistance is available for general practice during the Covid-19 pandemic, please click here.