The government has asked social care employers in England to report the deaths of staff from confirmed or suspected Covid-19 to it, to ensure fatalities from the disease among social workers and care workers are reported accurately.
The call from the Department of Health and Social Care follows news that the death rate from Covid-19 among social care staff is twice as high as among the general working population and healthcare workers. In addition, Office for National Statistics showed that 10 social workers had died from the disease in England and Wales.
The DHSC has asked employers – including councils, private providers and charities, whether they are registered with the Care Quality Commission or not – to email the following details about the person to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- job title;
- local authorities in which the person worked;
- date of death;
- if Covid-19 was suspected or confirmed.
The reports, which are not mandatory, are in addition to the requirement among social care employers to make a report to the Health and Social Care Executive in cases where:
- an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus.
- a worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
- a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.
Employers will also need to make a separate report to the NHS Business Services Authority to support claims for the £60,000 life assurance payment that will be paid to families of frontline social care and health workers who lose their lives to Covid-19.
Bereavement scheme extended to families of social care staff
In a separate move, the government has extended access to a scheme under which indefinite leave to remain in the UK is given to bereaved families of NHS healthcare staff from outside the European Economic Area who lose their lives to Covid-19.
This will now apply to social care staff, as well as NHS support staff and other healthcare workers, including those in the independent sector.
The change followed a campaign to have the scheme extended by unions and workers.