HCSA issues renewed call for urgent death in service resolution

HCSA has today repeated its call for all NHS staff to be provided with enhanced death in service cover during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The union first called for the measure four weeks ago in a letter to the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care. However, despite assurances that this issue is being considered, an extended scheme has still not been introduced.

Only staff actively contributing to the NHS pension scheme receive cover, with the amount varying depending on whether they are part of the 1995, 2008 or 2015 schemes.

HCSA has expressed concern that this excludes a large number of hospital doctors and other staff, including returning retirees and medical students. Doctors who have opted out of the scheme to avoid the pension tax trap are also impacted.

HCSA is continuing to call for cover to be extended to all NHS staff during the pandemic, with a minimum amount payable to ensure that the dependents of workers do not face hardship if a death in service sadly occurs.

HCSA President Dr Claudia Paoloni said: “NHS staff are currently working at a higher level of intensity and at a much greater level of risk than ever before. As a result of this, we have already sadly seen a number of our colleagues lose their lives while working to keep the country safe.

“We have been clear from the start that regardless of whether a staff member is currently contributing to a pension, their family should not have to face hardship if the worst happens.

“One in 10 NHS workers are not currently members of the pension scheme, while large numbers of medical students and retirees are working alongside existing staff. They and their families deserve reassurance when they go out to work on the front line.

“The UK government and devolved administrations need to act now to ensure that this vital support is extended to all staff. Arrangements should also be made to ensure that the family of anyone who has already sadly died without cover is provided with financial support.”