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Wednesday, 19 June 2024
Calls for compensation scheme for UK frontline workers with long Covid
Some health workers with long Covid have found it hard to return to work.

In letters to Boris Johnson, MPs and peers urge him to recognise long Covid as occupational disease

Boris Johnson is being urged to launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers who are suffering from the long-term effects of coronavirus.

The all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus said the prime minister should recognise long Covid as an occupational disease, saying some sufferers have found it hard to return to work.

A letter, signed by more than 60 MPs and peers, has been sent to Johnson.

Symptoms of “long Covid” include fatigue, loss of taste or smell, and respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Layla Moran, the APPG’s chair, 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.”

The group wants the government to follow France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, which have formally recognised Covid as an “occupational disease”.

Moran, a Liberal Democrat, added: “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.

“The government cannot abandon them now or ever. The least the government can do is recognise their sacrifice by recognising their condition as an occupational disease, launching a compensation scheme, and save the livelihoods of those who save lives.”

The MPs have been backed by Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the chairof the British Medical Association Council, who said a compensation scheme to support healthcare staff was “only right”.

He added: “After being exposed to increased risk working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic, there are now healthcare workers across the country living with the long-term, debilitating impacts of having caught the virus.

“We have heard harrowing stories from doctors suffering with long Covid, who are often unable to work, threatening their financial stability and affecting their lives at home.

“The dedication and selflessness shown by healthcare workers over the last year, and the debt of gratitude owed to them, be underestimated.

“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.”

source: Mark Thomas