Doctors say decision will limit visibility and prevent accountability. The government’s guilt and failures must not be whitewashed
Coroners have been ordered to exclude issues of inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) from inquests into the deaths of NHS staff killed by COVID-19.
Chief coroner Mark Lucraft has told has told coroners in England and Wales that:
an inquest would not be a satisfactory means of deciding whether adequate general policies and arrangements were in place for provision of PPE to healthcare workers…
An inquest is not the right forum for addressing concerns about high-level government or public policy.”
Doctors’ Association UK chair Rinesh Parmar told the Guardian:
The provision of PPE is so vital to the safety of health workers that to suggest coroners do not consider its supply in detail misses a big part of the picture.
Only comprehensive inquests into the deaths of every NHS and care worker will give the bereaved the ability to ask questions and have the circumstances of their loved ones’ deaths fully explained.
The lack of PPE has cost not only the lives of approaching 200 health workers, but also of uncounted members of the public who will have become infected in a healthcare setting by people not showing symptoms.
The Department of Health has only just told the NHS to even count how many health workers are dying separately from the overall mortality figures.
Anything other than the full inclusion of all the circumstances of an NHS worker killed by this virus will be an inexcusable whitewash of the consequences of the government’s months-long travesty forcing health staff into virus-ridden areas without adequate PPE.
And that must include not only the Tories’ PPE failures, but the almost-daily changes to Public Health England guidance on what PPE should be worn, to cover for the unforgivable lack of the right equipment.
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