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Coronavirus: 'Start public inquiry now to prevent more deaths'

Relatives of 450 people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic are demanding an immediate public inquiry. The families want an urgent review of "life and death" steps needed to minimise the continuing effects of the virus and a guarantee that documents relating to the crisis will be kept.

A full inquiry would take place later, says lawyer, Elkan Abrahamson, who is representing the families.

The government has said its current focus is on dealing with the pandemic.

But the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK group say immediate lessons need to be learned to prevent more deaths, and that waiting for ministers to launch an inquiry will cost lives.

The call for an inquiry comes as a report from the National Audit Office - assessing the readiness of the NHS and social care in England for the pandemic - has shown it is not known how many of the 25,000 people discharged from hospitals into care homes at the peak of the outbreak were infected with coronavirus.

Health and Social Care Select Committee chairman Jeremy Hunt said it seemed "extraordinary that no one appeared to consider" the risk.

The Department of Health says it took the "right decisions at the right time".

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Source: BBC News, 12 June 2020


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