The public inquiry into the UK’s handling of COVID-19 has been opened after the Government agreed to widen the terms of reference.
The inquiry will examine preparations and the response to the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The inquiry comes as the number of UK fatalities with COVID-19 on their death certificate approaches 200,000.
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‘The COVID-19 inquiry can leave no stone unturned. Too many incredible nursing staff had their lives cut brutally short and many others are living with the impact of the virus still today,’ said RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen.
‘In the height of the pandemic, the guidance was confusing. The testing was inadequate. The PPE was missing or poor. The consequences were fatal.’
The inquiry chair, Baroness Heather Hallett, a retired judge and member of the House of Lords, and her team have begun work under the terms of the Inquiries Act, which makes it an offence to destroy or tamper with evidence.
‘Nursing staff were let down by Ministers throughout the pandemic. The RCN will seek to represent justice to everybody’s experience these last two years,’ added Ms Cullen.
‘The Covid-19 inquiry must not just be about what they failed to do in the years before the pandemic, those early days or even the big moments of the last two years. It must look ahead to ensure nursing staff are never again left so unprotected.’