Special paid leave for Covid-related sickness and isolation for NHS will be scrapped next week
- NHS staff will lose full sick pay for Covid next Thursday, July 7, DHSC announced
- Royal College of Nursing Director Patricia Marquis blasted ‘neglectful’ decision
- She said it showed ‘how little the UK government values its nursing staff’ in NHS
- DHSC said they were reverting sick pay rules is ‘as we learn to live with Covid’
The government will be scrapping special paid leave for Covid-related sickness and isolation for NHS staff in England next week.
The decision has been blasted by nurses as ‘neglectful and unfair’ after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said it showed ‘how little the UK government values its nursing staff.’
From next Thursday, July 7, all NHS staff in England will return to their pre-Covid contracts for sick pay.
The current conditions give all NHS workers full pay for any Covid related absences no matter how long they have been in post.
NHS staff, including nurses, will no longer be given full sick pay if they are off work with Covid in a move that has been blasted as ‘neglectful and unfair’ by the Royal College of Nursing
However, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) they were reverting the sick pay rules is ‘as we learn to live with Covid’.
These changes are being introduced as Covid infections rise with around 1.8 million people testing positive for Covid in England – around one in 30 people – as of last week, according to the Office for National Statistics.
They said the increases were ‘likely caused by increases in infections compatible with Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.’
‘It’s another indication of how little the UK government values its nursing staff,’ said RCN England Director Patricia Marquis (pictured)
RCN England Director Patricia Marquis said: ‘This decision is hugely disappointing given that COVID-19 clearly hasn’t gone away, and nursing staff continue to be disproportionately affected by the virus as they face higher risk of exposure.
‘We know many of our members are suffering from long COVID, with their lives adversely affected making them unable to work.’
She added: ‘Facing the threat of losing full sick pay should they remain off sick from a condition some could argue is an occupational hazard, is neglectful and unfair.
‘It’s another indication of how little the UK government values its nursing staff. NHS pay is barely enough to make ends meet at the best of times, and this will be another blow for some struggling with COVID-19-related health issues.’
A DHSC spokesperson told the BBC: ‘As we learn to live with Covid, we are withdrawing the temporary NHS staff sickness guidance that was put in place at the height of the pandemic, as part of plans to move back to the normal arrangements set out in the NHS terms and conditions.
‘This provides generous support for NHS staff with up to six months full pay and six months half pay, depending on length of service.’