Campaigners have launched a legal bid to force the Government to open an inquiry into failures in getting PPE to NHS staff and care workers.
The crowdfunded legal challenge is being brought by the Doctors’ Association UK, Hourglass Abuse, and the Good Law Project.
Their legal bid claims that the Department of Health’s has legal obligation to launch an investigation into whether failures to provide adequate PPE may have caused or contributed to the deaths or serious illness from COVID-19 of workers in the health and social care sectors, as well as patients.
They launched their legal action after government lawyers said an inquiry was unnecessary.
Ministers have said setting up the investigation would distract the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other key bodies involved in arranging the supply of PPE or guidance about what kit should be used.
The group claim that there have been at least 180 deaths of NHS staff and 131 deaths of social care workers in England.
Dr Rinesh Parmar, Chair of the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) said: “We have seen over the last few weeks that the UK has one of the highest death rates from COVID-19 in the world.
“Health and social care workers rose to the challenge, returned to the frontline from retirement and pulled out all the stops to save lives. Some had no personal protective equipment (PPE), others had inadequate, out of date perishing supplies.
“Alongside caring for patients, we’ve cared for colleagues and also faced the sad and grim reality of losing colleagues, who themselves were caring for patients.
“Now is the time to learn key lessons to enable us to avoid future pitfalls, protect the frontline and ultimately save lives. Our calls for a public inquiry and our petition of nearly 120,000 signatures have all fallen on deaf ears as the government buries its head in the sand and steadfastly refuses to commit to the learning required to prevent further tragedies.”
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