Daisy Cooper MP is urging the Government to recognise ‘long Covid’ as an occupational disease and to launch a compensation scheme for frontline workers living with the condition.
The MP for St Albans has joined politicians from seven UK political parties in calling for a scheme that would mirror the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme to support frontline NHS, social care and key workers such as teachers, who have contracted Covid-19 while responding to the pandemic and are now unable to return to work because of the long-term debilitating effects.
In a letter to the prime minister, the cross-party group warns that long Covid has become “the hidden health crisis of the pandemic”, with one in ten of the 3.9 million people who have tested positive for Covid-19 likely to suffer “for many months, if not years, to come”.
True heroes of the pandemic
The letter from 65 MPs and peers asks the prime minister to “grant frontline and key workers the recognition, compensation and support that they and their families need and deserve”, after the Government called on them to “support our country in our time of need”.
The parliamentarians describe frontline and key workers as the “true heroes of the pandemic” and criticise the Government’s delay in launching the scheme, saying it is a “dereliction of duty and amounts to abandoning the very people to whom we owe the most”.
The cross-party group, which is supported by the British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK, is also calling on the Government to invest in research to better understand the effects of long Covid.
Scale of the problem huge
And it wants a national register to be launched to count and publish the number of people living with long Covid on a daily basis, as is done with hospital admissions and deaths.
Daisy Cooper MP commented:
“The BMA has seen the scale of the problem here – it’s going to be huge and it’s going to have a long-term impact on demand for the NHS, and on the health of our workforce and how the economy functions.
“A group of MPs, including myself, wrote to the Government as long ago as last August to say that we’d received evidence about long Covid and we asked for it to be recognised as an occupational disease, meaning employees and their dependants are entitled to protection and compensation should they acquire Covid-19 in the course of their employment.
“It’s hugely frustrating that, yet again, the Government is behind the curve, when this has already been done in France, Germany, Belgium and other countries. Here we are many months on and the Government is still not recognising it as an issue and is still not taking action.
“If frontline workers are unable to work because they put their lives and livelihood on the line to keep the country going, it’s only right and fair and proper that they are rewarded with a compensation package.”