Death-in-service payments: nurses’ families need clarity, RCN tells Number 10

Financial support must apply in all settings, college tells government as tributes are paid to latest nurses to die in COVID-19 pandemic

Dame Donna Kinnair Picture:  Justine Desmond

As more than 30 UK nursing staff are known to have died so far in the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of deaths-in-service compensation has been highlighted by the RCN.

The college has written to the prime minister to raise concerns that there has been no announcement about death in service benefits and financial support for families of nursing staff who have died.

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair told Boris Johnson some bereaved families would be facing financial difficulty.

Professor Kinnair wrote: 'Benefits need to be retrospective, in effect, from the start of the pandemic and must apply to all health and care staff, regardless of length of service or setting.

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'This must include those who have bravely returned to service, and all students who join the fight against the pandemic.’

Never to be forgotten: nursing staff who inspired, cared and put others first

Khuli Nkala

As the death toll increases, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust staff paid glowing tribute to their colleague, forensic services charge nurse Khulisani (Khuli) Nkala, who died on 17 April from COVID-19.

The trust's workforce race equality network chair and clinical services inclusion lead Wendy Tangen said her colleague had been 'a man of integrity, honour, wit with a smile that lit up a room,' and would be missed dearly.

Many others said Mr Nkala was a fantastic nurse, role model, mentor and inspiration.

Tributes were also paid to Josephine Peter, also known as Josephine Matseke (Manini), a nurse and mother-of-two who worked at Southport and Formby District General Hospital. She died on April 18.

Josephine Peter

Her husband Thabo said she was passionate, hardworking and always putting others before herself. 

At Swansea University staff paid tribute to mental health nursing lecturer and father-of-four, Brian Mfula, describing him as 'inspiring, warm and generous'.

And Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust staff are mourning their 'exceptional' colleague, mental health nurse Grant Maganga, who died on 20 April.

Director of nursing Clare Parker said Mr Maganga cared deeply for his service users and lit up the room with his infectious smile and positive personality. She said he would never be forgotten.

Brian Mfula

In addition, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust said its 'highly respected' mental health nurse Ade Dickson, who died recently, would be 'deeply missed'.

Nurse Ate Wilma Banaag who had worked at Watford General Hospital for almost two decades, before her recent death, was praised as 'hard-working, a devoted mother-of-three and a loving wife'.

Homerton University Hospital nurse Sophie Fagan, who has died age 78, was described as an extraordinary woman who 'refused to retire' from her role as a carer support specialist.

NHS Lanarkshire healthcare support worker and mother-of-two Kirsty Jones, died on 20 April.

Her husband, Nigel, said: 'Kirsty devoted her life to caring for others. She was a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and nurse.'

Finally, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn in Norfolk said it was deeply saddened by the death of healthcare assistant Chrissie Emerson after she tested positive for COVID-19.


Surge in demand from NHS staff for will-writing services

Some nurses and doctors have revealed they are writing their wills and advance care directives, as well as nominating powers of attorney.

Will-writing company Fairwill recently waived its £90 fee for NHS staff to make a will after seeing 12 times more NHS workers using its service than usual.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'The death of any NHS worker is a tragedy, and we are evaluating the existing financial support for families of those on the frontline.'

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