The BMA is urging Northern Ireland’s government not to follow England’s lead on death in service payments for healthcare professionals who lose their lives during the COVID-19 emergency.
Scotland is offering standard death in service payments to those in that situation. However, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock is proposing a single one-off payment, an approach that has already been adopted in Wales.
Dr Tom Black, chair of the BMA NI council, said: “Doctors across the country have been working longer hours to address the pressures the pandemic has brought. We would not want to see a single doctor who would tragically lose their life to this essential work being financially penalised.
“In the best case no-one would ever need to access this fund, but some doctors’ families might. In particular younger doctors who have not joined the pension scheme, those who have answer the call to return from retirement to assist with the pandemic, locum doctors who do not have a fixed employer and those who may have opted out of the pension scheme.
“We know that our minister is still weighing up how best to use this funding in Northern Ireland and we would strongly urge that it is a full death in service benefit not a single payment. Our frontline doctors and their families deserve nothing less,” Dr Black said.