The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation (HWF), the charity founded by NHS workers for NHS workers, has launched a Family Fund dedicated to support the families of NHS staff who have died from COVID-19.
The Fund was created following direct feedback from healthcare workers, who expressed fear and anxiety about the impact their work may have on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Through this initiative, the HWF will provide access to counselling and other practical support services, both during the grieving process and into the future, including respite breaks, educational support and mentoring for children.
The risk from the virus remains highest for healthcare workers, who are seven times more likely to develop severe COVID-19 compared to non-essential workers. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 600 healthcare workers have lost their lives.
Dr Michelle Dawson, a Trustee at the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation and a Critical Care Doctor, wondered back in March if she and her colleagues would survive the pandemic. She said: “As the pandemic was just beginning everyone was frightened about the new, unknown, deadly threat that was facing us. I remember doing a handover in critical care and looking round at my colleagues, wondering which of us would survive and who would die. Sadly two of those doctors have died of COVID-19 since that day. Both leave behind grieving families and children.
“Healthcare workers risk their lives to help the public every day, and we must now step forward to take care of their families in their time of need.”
The HWF has already started working with bereaved families of healthcare workers, such as that of 44-year-old care home nurse, Elsie Sazuze, who lost her life in April after contracting the virus. She left behind her husband Ken, son Andrew, 22, and daughter Anna, 16. The HWF stepped-in to provide specialist bereavement counselling for the family through the charity’s partner, Harley Therapy, and also helped her son secure an internship with a global accounting and consulting firm.
Ken Sazuze said: “This is our first Christmas without my wife Elsie. Losing her has been devastating and something words cannot explain. The HWF has supported us in ways we couldn’t have imagined, including helping my son to secure a great internship which may not have been possible otherwise.”
The British public is a key part of our defence against the virus. By supporting the HWF and this important initiative we can aim to make a big difference not only to those currently on the frontline but also taking care of the bereaved families of healthcare workers who have lost a loved one this year.
NHS Million supports the launch of the HWF’s Family Fund campaign; an independent organisation also focused on raising awareness surrounding the issues faced by healthcare workers.
To donate to HWF’s Family Fund Campaign, please visit here
Families of healthcare workers who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 and would like to enquire about the support available through the Family Fund should contact firstname.lastname@example.org