From Keep Our NHS Public
People’s Covid Inquiry chair Michael Mansfield QC, said:
This People’s Covid Inquiry report is unequivocal – dismal failure in the face of manifestly obvious risks…This Inquiry performed a much-needed and urgent public service when the nation was hit by a catastrophic pandemic coincident with an unprecedented period of democratic deficiency. It afforded an opportunity for the beleaguered citizen to be heard; for the victims to be addressed; for the frontline workers to be recognised; and for independent experts to be respected. When it mattered most and when lives could have been saved, the various postures adopted by government could not sustain scrutiny.
It was plain to Keep Our NHS Public (the organisers of the People’s Covid Inquiry) that Government words were bloated hot air, hoping to delay and obfuscate. Within this narrative lies a theme of behaviour amounting to gross negligence by the Government, whether examined singularly or collectively. There were lives lost and lives devastated, which was foreseeable and preventable. From lack of preparation and coherent policy, unconscionable delay, through to preferred and wasteful procurement, to ministers themselves breaking the rules, the misconduct is earth-shattering.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public and retired Consultant Paediatrician, said:
We are proud that our Inquiry filled the deafening silence from Government and set out to learn the lessons that could save lives in this and future pandemics. We are shocked at the avoidable loss of tens of thousands of lives through the neglect of pandemic planning, the run down of the NHS, and the intense inequality in this country. We heard the pride of NHS, care and other frontline staff and we heard about their pain, exhaustion and moral injury. The level of government cronyism and resultant profiteering has been blatant and in plain sight. Our overall conclusion is that there has been misconduct in public office. This has to be addressed. If we ignore it, the country cannot learn the lessons from today to face the challenge of tomorrow.
The pandemic is not over, and despite previous improvements, infection rates and death tolls are once again rising. As winter approaches and the Omicron Variant takes hold, the government must act now or more avoidable deaths will occur.
With political will and public support, there is no reason we can’t still emerge from the pandemic with an NHS that is not on the brink of collapse as it is now, but having learned lessons, gained experience, and seen proper investment in a publicly provided health-and-care service, in order to keep the nation safe as and when another crisis like this occurs.
The Executive Summary and the Full Report of the People’s Covid Inquiry is available to download here.