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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/steps-to-take-following-the-death-of-a-person-who-worked-in-adult-social-care-in-england/steps-to-take-following-the-death-of-a-person-who-worked-in-adult-social-care-in-england
In the sad event of the death of a worker in adult social care from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are several actions that employers may need to take.
Contact the family
contact the person’s family or next of kin to offer condolences, while respecting that the family may wish to mourn in a private way
confirm with the family if the news can be shared with others at work
answer any questions the person’s family may have about pay, contracts, pensions or other arrangements, ensuring that all procedures are followed
put the family in touch with a senior manager or equivalent who can answer questions about returning any personal belongings
Tell others at work
- tell others at work that the person has died, in a sensitive way
- signpost staff to any support that’s available to them and talk to staff regularly to see how they’re coping
- let staff know how they can give their condolences (if the person’s family are happy for them to do so)
- share details of any memorial, if staff have been invited
Report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
Report a coronavirus work-related death to the HSE if it meets the criteria under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).
There must be reasonable evidence that the death was caused by an occupational exposure to coronavirus. The responsible person should notify HSE by the quickest practicable means, without delay, and send a report within 10 days of the death. The failure to make a RIDDOR report is a criminal offence.
HSE will then look further at the circumstances and may decide to investigate. HSE’s investigatory work aims to identify actions an employer needs to take to prevent any recurrence, for sharing broader lessons, and could potentially lead to enforcement action in specific cases if there are breaches of health and safety at work law.
Inform the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
There is no legal duty on employers to submit this information to DHSC. However, it will help to ensure that the steps listed below are taken following the death.
Employers are encouraged to tell the family, friends or colleagues of the person who has died that they’re submitting this information.
Following an initial notification, DHSC may ask for some additional information in order to:
- provide support to the family and employer of the person who has died
- allow the Prime Minister and/or Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to send a letter of condolence to the next of kin of the person who has died (depending on the family’s wishes)
- enable medical examiners to scrutinise the deaths of social care workers from COVID-19
- help the government with the ongoing research into the coronavirus disease
Please follow this process where deaths have already occurred, and if there are any further deaths.
Process for telling DHSC about the death of a worker in adult social care
Please provide as much information as you can.
Email the following details about the person who has died to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- job role
- local authority(ies) in which they worked
- date of death
- if COVID-19 was confirmed or suspected
Definition of workers and employers in adult social care
DHSC is asking to be informed about the deaths of all types of workers in the adult social care sector, regardless of role or employer, and including volunteers.
Employers include (but are not limited to):
- privately run care providers
- local authorities
Employers can be CQC-registered or non-CQC-registered.
If the worker who has died worked for an agency, we would expect the agency to inform us of the death, rather than the care provider using the agency provision. However, in some cases, both organisations may agree that it’s more appropriate for the care provider to inform us.
If the person who died worked in children’s social care, then please contact the Department for Education instead.
Please email any queries about informing DHSC about the death of a social care worker to email@example.com.
Inform the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (if applicable)
If the person who died was an individual registered service provider, or a member of a partnership, then their personal representative or business partner needs to report the death to the CQC as a statutory notification.
CQC does not need to be notified following the death of an individual staff member. Instead, this should be reported through RIDDOR to HSE if it meets the criteria.
Inform the coroner (if applicable)
The coroner does not need to be notified of a death from natural causes. Coroners will investigate deaths that are unnatural, violent or where the cause is unknown.
If you’re concerned that the death should be investigated by the coroner and the death has not already been reported to the coroner by the person’s doctor, family or any other person, you should contact your local coroner’s office.
Contact details can be found on your local authority’s website.
Support the family’s coronavirus life assurance scheme application (if applicable)
If the family is eligible to apply, then the employer should certify and support their application for a £60,000 lump sum payment from the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020.
The scheme is non-contributory, meaning there is no cost to staff or employers.
Share information about the coronavirus bereavement scheme
If appropriate, share information about the Coronavirus Bereavement Scheme with the family. The scheme offers indefinite leave to remain, free of charge, to non European Economic Area (EEA) family members and dependants of anyone working in health or social care who dies as a result of contracting coronavirus.
If the family of your staff member feels that they’re in this position, they can contact the UK Visas and Immigration NHS team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.