Responding to the launch of a joint inquiry1 from the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee into the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic so far, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“From the testing debacle, chronic shortages of PPE, and the crisis in care homes, to the failure to adequately protect people from BAME backgrounds, the Government’s response to the Covid pandemic so far has fallen far short – with potentially devastating consequences.
“With the UK’s Covid death the highest in Europe, and with more than 53,000 excess deaths since March in England alone, the failure to control the spread of this deadly virus here requires serious scrutiny.
“The BMA called for a rapid review of Government preparedness for a second wave as far back as June with early findings ready by August. Now daily infections are reaching record highs, so this inquiry is long overdue and urgent.
“We need a thorough but timely investigation with tangible, ongoing recommendations; an inquiry that unearths the mistakes but also provides learning from the last six months to inform how this second spike and future pandemics should be managed.
“Our members – the doctors who have served on the frontline doing battle with this deadly virus – want to know that they will be protected this time and able to provide the care that patients need, including the thousands who had treatment postponed during the first wave. Doctors also need guarantees that everything possible is being done to prevent further spread of the infection, which would lead to many more people suffering and could place insurmountable pressure on the NHS.
“The views of frontline clinicians must inform this inquiry and the BMA looks forward to working constructively with the committees to ensure the voices of our members are heard.”