DOZENS of former UK Government ministers and senior MPs have backed a campaign to provide the families of NHS front line "heroes" with compensation should they die in the fight against the coronavirus.

A senior collection of cross-party backbenchers - including Mike Penning, the ex-Police Minister, Dan Poulter, the former Health Minister, and Sir Charles Walker, who jointly chairs the influential Conservative Party 1922 Committee - have added their names to a call for Boris Johnson to offer financial support to loved ones of NHS workers in the event of their death.

Last week, Amged El-Hawrani, 55, an ear, nose and throat consultant, became the first doctor to be recognised by the NHS as having died after contracting the killer virus from his patients following his death at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The Royal College of Physicians has confirmed that about one in four NHS doctors are off work sick or in isolation while the Health Care Supply Association has warned of "serious supply issues" in Personal Protective Equipment in hospitals.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, co-ordinated by Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat MP, some 50 parliamentarians have united in calling for an armed-forces style compensation package for NHS workers who lose their lives.

"Those on the front line of this battle against coronavirus are heroes,” they declare.

"However, the risks to themselves and their families that they are taking on a daily basis are not recognised as much as they should be.

"We are writing to you to call on the UK Government to create a coronavirus compensation scheme for those who, as dedicated and committed professionals, are bravely putting themselves in harm's way to protect us all."

The group of MPs argued that those who died after contracting the illness from patients should be eligible for payment to their families, on top of their pension benefit.

A contribution should also be made to their funeral costs, they told Mr Johnson, with the scheme providing a lump sum payment, guaranteed income for the family and child payments to those eligible under 18-years-old.

Other MPs to have signed the letter include Sir Ed Davey, the acting Lib Dem leader, Tracy Brabin, the Shadow Culture Secretary, Liz Saville-Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, the SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil, who chairs the Commons International Trade Committee, and the DUP's Jim Shannon.

Ms Moran, who is set to run in the postponed Lib Dem leadership race next year, said 1,150 members of the public had also signed up to her campaign.

The bid to secure compensation follows a campaign by the Daily Mirror to give a medal to those NHS workers putting their lives in jeopardy to battle Covid-19.