Almost 100,000 angry people have signed an open letter to Boris Johnson demanding a public inquiry into NHS staff deaths and appalling shortages of personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 crisis.
At least 150 health and care workers have now died fighting the pandemic – and campaigners and charities want the Prime Minister to make a firm commitment for a probe once the battle is won.
The open letter, compiled by The Doctors’ Association UK, comes after polling showed one in five frontline medics have been given unusable PPE. And it follows the latest PPE disaster for the Government as surgical gowns in a promised shipment of 400,000 pieces of kit from Turkey failed safety tests.
The letter, signed by 96,000 as of tonight, states:
“Doctors are dying. Nurses are dying. This is unforgivable. We need a commitment to this now, with a full judge-led inquiry once the Covid-19 crisis is over.” “It is also crucial coroners open inquests into each healthcare worker death in addition to a public inquiry. This will ensure evidence is preserved and each death is properly investigated.”
And polling by DAUK raised fears faulty face masks and surgical gowns are still being delivered to hospitals.
Chair Dr Rinesh Parmar said: “It is vitally important these challenges are seen as an opportunity to learn. “We need to ensure no healthcare worker is put in harm’s way in this manner again and the families get answers. [We have] been lobbying to ensure coroner’s inquests are commenced in every healthcare worker death. This will facilitate the preservation of evidence for a full public inquiry or future legal action.”
As well as being criticised for neglecting stockpiles, the Government was slammed for being slow to use – or even ignoring – firms that offered to source or make PPE.