Nurses with long-COVID still waiting for financial support

MP demands its classification as an occupational disease so staff can claim benefits

MP demands its classification as an occupational disease so staff can claim benefits

Picture: iStock

It’s ‘high time’ that nurses who may never work again due to long-COVID receive concrete financial support, an MP has said.

All-Party Parliamentary Group on coronavirus chair Layla Moran called on the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC), which determines occupational diseases, to decide as soon as possible if long-COVID will be included on that list.

Classifying long-COVID as an occupational disease would trigger healthcare workers’ rights to claim benefits and compensation if they are diagnosed with the condition.

Government must act now to support staff with long-COVID, MP says

Ms Moran told Nursing Standard: ‘After almost two years and millions of infections, it is disappointing that the IIAC has taken so long to make firm conclusions on the occupational coverage of COVID-19.

‘This pandemic has shown us that the government will take unprecedented steps to support our economy, and it’s high time they do the same for those who sacrificed so much to protect others throughout this pandemic.’

An estimated 122,000 NHS staff have long-COVID, higher than any other profession, according to the last recorded figures reported by the Guardian newspaper in April.

Other countries already have financial schemes in place

Ms Moran said the UK lagged behind other countries in recognising long-COVID as an occupational disease, adding that many healthcare professionals, including nurses, have been left unable to work without adequate financial support.

‘In many cases, NHS and care workers were provided with inadequate protection while working on the front line and now receive limited support from inadequate sick pay schemes,’ she said.

Countries including Belgium, Germany and Italy have already recognised COVID-19 as an occupational disease for nurses and other key workers.

In Italy, a financial scheme was put in place to support healthcare workers with COVID-19 as early as March 2020.

Government yet to comment on progress of long-COVID classification

Ms Moran’s comments follow her previous call in May for the government to provide a stop-gap financial compensation scheme to support key workers while authorities decided whether long-COVID could be classed as an occupational disease.

The IIAC said in May that the classification process could take up to a year.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said the IIAC is evaluating research on COVID-19 and plans to publish a report on post-COVID complications in the coming months.

In other news