This letter was printed in the Guardian on Saturday 19 March 2021 in response for renewed calls for a COVID-19 inquiry.
Keep Our NHS Public decided to go ahead with a people’s inquiry into the handling of the pandemic (Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson to launch coronavirus inquiry, 16 March), as we have no confidence in the government’s assurance that it will hold one when the time is right. Two virtual sessions have taken place and the panel, chaired by Michael Mansfield QC, has heard from Sir Michael Marmot and Sir David King, as well as speakers from the Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group. Recordings of these sessions can be found on [edit: YouTube].
King, a previous chief scientific adviser to the government and now chair of Independent Sage, said that in 2006 it had considered the effect of a pandemic with the virus coming from an animal source. This information seemed to have been lost in the system, as the 2016 Cygnus exercise only modelled itself on the flu. Marmot presented figures showing the devastating impact of austerity on health inequalities, and the bereaved family members asked pertinent questions about the system setup, while Helen Salisbury, a practising GP, related how GPs were ignored in the steps taken to control the pandemic. We hope that the Department of Health and Social Care is summarising this information for Matt Hancock and will implement some of the needed changes.
President, Keep Our NHS Public
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