MPs want ‘long Covid’ compensation for frontline workers

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The government has been urged to set up a compensation scheme for frontline workers who are suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.

MPs in the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said “long Covid” should be recognised as an occupational disease, and that some frontline staff who have been exposed to the virus have been unable to return to full-time work.

Layla Moran, chair of the APPG, said: “Long Covid is the hidden health crisis of the pandemic, and it is likely to have an enormous impact on society for many years to come.

“When it comes to frontline NHS, care and key workers, they were specifically asked to go to work and save lives while everyone else was asked to stay at home.

“They were exposed to an increased level of risk of catching the virus, often without adequate levels of PPE… They are the true heroes of the pandemic and, sadly, many have developed the debilitating effects of long Covid, meaning that they are unable to return to full-time work.”

Countries including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Spain have formally recognised long Covid as an occupational disease.

Those suffering with long Covid can often experience symptoms including fatigue, loss of taste or smell, respiratory problems and cardiovascular issues for weeks and months after becoming infected with Covid-19 – even those who experienced only mild coronavirus symptoms.

Around 390,000 people in the UK are thought to have long Covid.

Moran, along with around 60 MPs who have signed the letter to the Prime Minister, called for a “symptoms-based” national register to document how many people in the UK are living with long Covid, which would help estimate the cost of delivering a compensation scheme.

The campaign has also been backed by the British Medical Association and members of the House of Lords.

“While the government and employers must increase efforts to protect staff now and stop them contracting Covid-19 in the first place, for some it is already too late,” said Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association council.

“So it is only right that ministers urgently provide a compensation scheme to support healthcare staff and their families who are now living with the devastating after-effects of Covid-19.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Health and Social Care said: “We are acutely aware of the indiscriminate and lasting impact Covid-19 can have. This should be a clear reminder to everyone that Covid-19 can affect anyone and they should continue to follow the guidance and think hands, face and space to get this virus under control.

“We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our health and social care staff throughout the pandemic and it is important that staff are treated fairly, and employers make full use of the existing sick pay provisions on offer to support staff.

“We are continuing to work with our outstanding scientists to improve our collective understanding of the impact long-Covid has on people of all ages – making sure we deliver the best support possible to affected individuals.”

Sick pay support for NHS staff on national terms and conditions is set at up to six months full salary, followed by up to six months of half their salary, depending on length of service. Temporary Covid sick pay for NHS staff is also in place.

The majority of frontline care workers, many of whom may also be suffering from long Covid symptoms, are employed in the private sector, so will be covered by different sick pay policies.

More than 60 specialist clinics have been opened across England to support individuals experiencing long Covid.

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6 Responses to MPs want ‘long Covid’ compensation for frontline workers

  1. Avatar
    Marion harvey 18 Feb 2021 at 10:23 pm #

    It is about time long covid is recognised and funding made available to investigate the condition and support people living with it. I caught covid last April 2020 and was not hospitalised, so thought I was one of the lucky ones. Initially I thought I “just couldn’t shake it off”. But am now 10 months in with ongoing symptoms, with new ones appearing during those 10 months. I my experience it appears that GPS and surgeries need ongoing guidance with what is available to help us. I spoke to a locum at my surgery on 16/02/21 who had never heard of long covid clinics and admitted that I was the first person he had seen with this problem, but assured me I would be referred. Time will tell if that happens, so in the meantime I have to try and manage this condition myself. I have to admit and I did say this to the gp when I spoke to him that I feel I have been abandoned. Thank you

  2. Avatar
    Mr Gilbert Almen 26 Feb 2021 at 9:36 pm #

    My wife was in itu for 7 weeks and that’s including her ECMO treatment. She is a nurse and still recovering until now. She had covid during the first wave.
    She is still suffering from pain and tightness on her throat area due to long intubation and tracheostomy. She easily feels tired, with unexplained upper back pains and palpitations.
    She is now receiving just half of her pay since it’s more than 6 months already of not working. We have a mortgage and bills to pay.
    The proposed compensation will be a huge help to assist with our failing finances. I hope that this will be realized soon before we end up experiencing more devastations from the effect of my wife’s fight with covid.

    • Avatar
      Ed O Donnell 22 Mar 2021 at 1:22 pm #

      Deeply sorry for you Gilbert and your wife this financial situation you find yourselves in.I’m a care assistant in a hospital great team of people I got covid in the first wave suffer the effects of long covid shortness of breath fatigue dizzy spells but fortunately I can stil work.I sincerely hope your wife’s condition improves and that you are compensated.If I win the lottery I will help you out got my lucky dip ticket.All front line workers who got covid should be compensated those who didn’t given a bonus.

  3. Avatar
    Zoe Cartwright 3 Mar 2021 at 10:46 pm #

    I work in a school as a school business manager. I contracted Covid 19 within 3 weeks of returning to work after working from home. I have been diagnosed with Long Covid. I have been on statutory sick pay since Dec 2020 and cannot afford my bills. I am on my own so no partner’s salary to fall back on. I do not know what to do. I have had no support from school. I feel completely abandoned.

  4. Avatar
    Ed O Donnell 22 Mar 2021 at 12:44 pm #

    I got covid in the first wave last year along with most of my base team.I suffer from shortness of breath and fatigue and dizzy spells I work on a busy medical assessment unit.People say to me oh your looking well I have to work like most no choice.Even if long covid is recognised in the uk how can I medically prove I have it if my sats and observations are normal I suspect I will never see dollar one compensation.

  5. Avatar
    Shobha 25 Mar 2021 at 11:38 am #

    I got Covid in October 2020 still unable to go to work due to tiredness,sore body and diagnosis with long Covid and I am just getting SSP pay ,I am a nurse working in nursing home

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