Doctors are demanding a public inquiry into the mismanagement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) after the deaths of NHS staff and care workers from Covid-19.
The Doctors Association UK (DAUK) serves as a union for frontline medics in the UK. It recently reaffirmed its commitment to press the government for a legal review of Covid-related deaths in the health sector.
Between April and October 2020, at least 126 frontline workers died from Covid. Employers maintain that they were exposed to the virus due to the nature of their work, according to official reports to the Health and Safety Executive show.
Dr Peter Tun was one of the first doctors to die of Covid-19 on 13 April. He had expressly warned the Royal Berkshire hospital against the effects of a lack of PPE for his team, stating that “it will be too little and too late”.
The Good Law Project, DAUK, and Hourglass are intent on seeking legal recourse against the government for its “continued refusal to hold a public inquiry into whether PPE failures contributed to the deaths or illness of NHS staff and care workers”.
This occurs against the backdrop of the National Audit Office’s (NAO) November report into the UK’s PPE stock. The three groups had temporarily halted legal action whilst the NAO report was underway, which ultimately found that the government had prioritised suppliers with political connections.
The NAO questioned whether “PPE provision or use might have contributed to Covid-19 infections or deaths”.
A DAUK spokesperson said: “Inquiries must be initiated to investigate any factors that may have led to healthcare workers’ deaths. It is the next necessary step towards setting things right and preventing any more avoidable deaths.”
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