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NHS campaigners launched a “People’s Covid Inquiry” today with key backing from leading academics, celebrities, campaigning groups, unions and front-line workers.
The inquiry aims to analyse why Britain has suffered over 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 and what lessons should be learned to inform future decisions and policymaking.
It comes in the absence of a formal public investigation by officials.
Human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC will oversee the proceedings, which will be hosted by Keep Our NHS Public (KONP).
Each session will explore a separate aspect of the pandemic including a zero-Covid strategy, the privatisation of public health, the preparedness of the NHS, and the impact of the pandemic on NHS staff and keyworkers.
They will hear testimony from front-line workers, academics, scientists, politicians and influencers, as well as from members of the public.
KONP co-chairman Dr John Puntis said: “It’s clear that the government aims to avoid scrutiny and the inevitable criticism that will come its way for the mismanagement of this pandemic.
“Ministers wish to delay any inquiry until such time in the distant future when this will have become both a largely academic exercise and pose them no threat. There are, however, powerful reasons why an inquiry should be a matter of urgency.
“To this end, we are launching the People’s Covid Inquiry – to answer the questions the government lacks the courage even to ask.”
Junior doctor Sonia Adesara said: “We have experienced a horrendous number of deaths over the past year. It is vital that we learn lessons now, to stop any more unnecessary suffering.
“Over a decade of NHS neglect by this government means we will be counting the cost in our health service for years to come.
“We need to understand what went wrong and the underlying systemic problems within society to ensure we are better prepared in future pandemics.”
UK Medical Women’s Federation president Neena Modi said that “honest answers are needed to understand why this tragedy has occurred.”
KONP will host a series of eight online sessions beginning on February 24, held at two-week intervals. The events are open to all, and the details of how to join them can be found on https://www.peoplescovidinquiry.com/
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