Covid-19 inquiry investigates PM’s pandemic decisions

An inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has begun to investigate the decisions made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers.

The latest stage of the inquiry, which began in June, will look at decisions taken by the government between early January and late March 2020.

This phase of the pandemic includes the period when up to 15,000 people were discharged from hospital to care homes without being tested for Covid-19.

The prime minister and former health secretary Matt Hancock are expected to be interviewed during the hearing in summer 2023.

Nadra Ahmed, chairman of the National Care Association, told Caring Times: “There was an inevitability about this inquiry opening and enabling a forensic analysis of what went wrong. The reality is it will not bring back those who lost their lives or take away the pain of those who struggled and continue to do so,  and those left behind.

“The best we can hope for is a comprehensive master file of lessons learnt and an acknowledgement that mistakes were made. It must support the need for transparency and inclusion at the planning stages to mitigate risks that are real.

“I believe the inquiry must enable all who wish to give evidence the opportunity to do so and as care provider representatives who supported our sector we hope that we will be afforded that opportunity.”

Jayne Connery, director of the Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, added: “CCFTV would urge the Covid 19 public inquiry scope to include review and assessment of the impact of repeated lockdowns on the mental health and well-being of care home residents, their families and the very many staff who had to witness high levels of resident demise.

“We believe many in those groups are still traumatised as a result of witnessed events, often because of the needless loss of a loved one who remained in isolation due to the unnecessary exclusion of a family member. Residents died without any comfort of family, without anyone independently assessing the care service they received and without knowing if any other contributing factors existed.

“It is also important that the review panel determine what actions and systems need to be mandated in care homes to ensure that in any future pandemic crisis their loved ones can be remotely monitored.”

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