Act now, save lives.

Leading health and science experts demand urgent public inquiry into Govt’s Covid response.

Media Release (19/05/2020)

Act now, save lives: leading health and science experts demand urgent public inquiry into Govt’s Covid response

  • Lessons must be learned now from care homes “scandal”, say prominent doctors and scientists
  • Warning that lives will be lost needlessly if a public inquiry is not launched immediately, to learn lessons before further waves of Covid-19 arrive
  • Petition calling for inquiry already has 100,000 signatures as public clamour for action grows

SENIOR science and health professionals are calling for an urgent public inquiry into the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning lessons must be learned before further infection spikes, or lives will be lost needlessly.

The experts are scathing about elements of the response, branding the death toll in care homes a “scandal” and attacking the Government for failing to deal adequately with the first wave of Covid-19.


Dr Kailash Chand OBE, former deputy chair of the BMA Council, said:


The UK is a world-leader in the fields of science and healthcare, and our NHS is the envy of the world. Despite this, we now have the highest number of deaths in Europe and the situation in our care homes is nothing short of a scandal. 

“Governments and media from across the globe, from Australia to Germany, are using the UK as an example of how not to tackle the crisis. It is time that we, the public, hold this government to account by demanding an urgent and independent public inquiry.”


His concerns were echoed by Professor Dame Anne Glover, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She said:


More than 1 in 10 of coronavirus deaths worldwide have been in the UK. The UK government has struggled to deliver an effective response. Faced with the potential of a second wave this winter, compounded with seasonal flu, we now need an urgent and independent public inquiry to ensure we all learn the lessons while we still have time to prepare.”

“It is vital that we openly and transparently take stock of what has gone wrong and set the country on a new footing before the dangerous winter months. We owe it to all key workers, NHS and care staff, and all coronavirus victims and their families to do everything in our power to save lives.”


There is growing public disquiet about how the pandemic is being handled. A petition calling for the Government to commit to a full public inquiry into the UK’s handling of the coronavirus crisis has attracted more than 100,000 signatures in only four weeks, with  campaigners urging a swift, independent inquiry ahead of a possible second Covid-19 peak in winter. 


Support for a prompt public inquiry has also come from Professor Martin McKee CBE, Professor of European public health and member of the Independent SAGE group of scientists. He said:

The UK should have been able to emulate the successes in tackling the outbreak seen in many other countries, including New Zealand and Germany. We clearly failed in the first wave and, with the possibility of a second wave come winter, we must make every effort to learn the lessons and be better prepared. 

“The public inquiry must be fast, independent and transparent to ensure we never again allow our NHS and care workers – and all key workers – to fight this battle without the adequate support and protection.”


The petition was launched by Campaign group March for Change. Its co-founder, Dr Mike Galsworthy, said:

This is a call from the public, in partnership with a call from health and science experts. This inquiry cannot be some politicians' game - it must be owned by, open to, and delivered for UK society at large.

"If an inquiry is not held now, lessons will go unlearned and that will cost lives should a further coronavirus wave hit us. Time is of the essence here, particularly with an eye on the winter months – there have been too many unnecessary deaths, too many grieving relatives already. We owe it to our frontline staff and carers everywhere to learn lessons right now and better protect the NHS and vulnerable before the difficult months to come.

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