Family of Norwich coronavirus victim welcome government pandemic response inquiry
PUBLISHED: 05:00 08 October 2020
A Norwich woman whose father died from coronavirus has welcomed MPs launching an inquiry to scrutinise the Government response to the pandemic.
The Health and Social Care Committee will jointly conduct evidence sessions with the Science and Technology Committee to examine the effectiveness of the action taken by the Government and the advice it has received from experts.
Both committees will also look at the effectiveness of testing and contact tracing as well as the Government’s communications and public health messaging.
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Jo Goodman, who lost her dad Stuart to the virus and who is co-founder of campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said: “It’s great that backbenchers from all the main parties are insisting on their right to scrutinise the Government.
“Families who lost their loved ones to the virus will be able to make their voices heard, and we’re looking forward to contributing.”
Stuart Goodman, 72, a former Fleet Street press photographer, died on April 2. He began suffering symptoms of the virus after being admitted to the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital following a cancer diagnosis on March 18.
His daughter said: “The fact that MPs have had to begin their own investigation highlights how this Government has avoided scrutiny by refusing to launch its own judge-led public inquiry.
“That inquiry would be able to compel witnesses to give evidence. And it could have a ‘rapid review’ first phase, as was held after the Hillsborough disaster.
“By blocking that, the Government is hindering the process of learning lessons from the pandemic.”
The weekly evidence session is set to begin on October 13, with recommendations expected to be published around springtime next year.
Jeremy Hunt, who is chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “We are going to start next week with a focus on the social care sector.
“That’s incredibly important because we know we had a number of issues in care homes last time round.”
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He added: “In most of our sessions, we will be talking to frontline workers and members of the public who have been directly affected by coronavirus in one way or another.”
Other key areas which will face scrutiny are the deployment of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as lockdown and social distancing rules to manage the pandemic, as well as the development of treatments and vaccines.
In addition, the committees will also look at modelling and the use of statistics, as well as the UK’s prior preparedness for a pandemic.
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