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Petition urges Government to rethink scrapping NHS COVID sick pay

Nurses with long-COVID say the payments were a lifeline providing financial security for those hoping to one day ‘return to the careers we love’

Nurses with long-COVID say the payments were a lifeline providing financial security for those hoping to one day ‘return to the careers we love’

An online petition has been launched calling on the Government to reverse its decision to end COVID-19 sick pay for NHS staff, with signatories saying they hope ministers ‘see sense’.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals with long-COVID say the payments were a lifeline for those hoping to recover at home and one day ‘return to the careers we love’.

Nurses with long-COVID say the payments were a lifeline providing financial security for those hoping to one day ‘return to the careers we love’

Signatories for the online petition are urging the Government to reverse its decision to end COVID-19 sick pay for NHS staff
Signatories for the online petition are urging the Government to reverse its decision to end COVID-19 sick pay for NHS staff. Picture: iStock

An online petition has been launched calling on the Government to reverse its decision to end COVID-19 sick pay for NHS staff, with signatories saying they hope ministers ‘see sense’.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals with long-COVID say the payments were a lifeline for those hoping to recover at home and one day ‘return to the careers we love’.

Ending COVID sick pay may force unwell nurses to return to work, say campaigners

Long Covid Nurses and Midwives UK (LCNM) chair Alison Twycross said the payments provided financial security for those who had ‘risked their own lives to look after other people throughout the pandemic’ and taking it away put their well-being at risk.

‘Some staff with long-COVID recover and return to work, some manage to return part time, others don’t. There is a large group of staff who developed long-COVID in 2020 who are still not well enough to go back to work.

‘Taking away COVID sick pay from these people removes their financial stability and may well force them to try and return to work too early.’

LCNM estimates about 14,600 registered nurses and 7,800 nursing support staff in England have been affected by long-COVID.

Dr Twycross said the government was operating under a ‘blinkered’ approach that the pandemic is over without considering the longer-term impact it is having on nurses and healthcare workers with long-COVID.

Petition organiser labels ending payments an ‘insult’ to healthcare workers’ sacrifice

Maria Esslinger-Raven, a midwife who has long-COVID and who started the petition, labelled the Government’s decision an ‘insult’ to the sacrifices of healthcare workers.

Ms Esslinger-Raven warned many who were off sick from work for COVID-related reasons were reliant on the payments to make ends meet.

‘Healthcare professionals are already underpaid, and some have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Removing the protection of COVID sick pay only worsens an already dire situation,’ she said.

‘NHS COVID-19 sick pay is a vital support that will protect patients, staff and the entire workforce’s physical and psychological safety. Reintroducing the payments will also mean NHS staff with long-COVID feel they are not completely abandoned by the Government.’

Sick leave measures for COVID-affected NHS staff withdrawn on 7 July in England

Special sick leave provisions for NHS staff with COVID-19 were introduced during the pandemic and meant nurses were entitled to full pay throughout their illness, regardless of length of service.

However, these measures were withdrawn in England on 7 July. Similar plans to revert to normal sick pay arrangements have already been announced in Scotland and Wales, and are expected to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

From 1 September, all those already receiving COVID-19 sick pay will return to their normal sick pay arrangements.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.


Find out more

Change.org.petition to bring back COVID sick pay for NHS professionals


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