Student nurses are covered by NHS death-in-service scheme, confirms HEE

Concerns were raised by several unions that student nurses would not be covered under the scheme due to a “loophole”. 

Matt Bodell
11 March 2021
Healthcare worker wearing PPE

The scheme pays a £60,000 tax-free lump sum should an employee die.

Student nurses working on the frontline during the pandemic are covered by the NHS’s death-in-service scheme, Health Education England (HEE) has confirmed.

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The Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme provides financial protection for the families of frontline staff who are employed to deliver care in environments that carry an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

The temporary scheme pays a £60,000 tax-free lump sum should an NHS employee die as a result of COVID-19 contracted through their work.

Concerns were raised by several unions that student nurses would not be covered under the scheme due to a “loophole”.

HEE has now updated its guidance for nursing students and put it in writing that these students will be covered.

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The guidance reads; “Clinical placements are governed by formal agreements between universities and the host organisation. Healthcare students are therefore covered by the scheme rules as eligible individuals, just like other frontline NHS staff.”

Students on paid extended clinical placements can also join the NHS Pension Scheme, which provides additional death in service benefits.

Chair of the RCN Students Committee Heather Massie said: “We welcome the clarification that student nurses in England are covered by the scheme, just like all other NHS staff.

“It’s an important issue which we have consistently raised with government.

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“All nursing students must be protected when on clinical placements during COVID-19 as they are delivering care for people and working in environments that carry an increased risk of contracting the virus.

“Thousands of student nurses have stepped up to support the NHS; it’s only right they know they’re eligible for the same protection as their colleagues.”

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