Families and those suffering will be at the center of public investigations into Covid-19, the chairman promised to be “fair” and “thorough.”
Former Court of Appeals Judge Baroness Heather Hallett has launched an investigation. London She said she will look into the UK’s readiness for the pandemic, government response and the impact on patients. NHS social care staff and the general public.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to share their experiences through formal listening exercises, while a permanent tribute to the deceased will be set up in the hearing hall.
After the hearing, bereaved families may only be able to share their experiences through a proposed hearing project that allows the public to participate without having to formally submit evidence or attend the hearing. , expressed concern that they might be sidelined.
Mrs. Hallett began Tuesday’s hearing by leading a minute’s silence for those who died, saying, “There is one word that sums up the pandemic for so many people, and that is ‘loss.'” said.
She added: They lost loved ones and lost the ability to grieve properly. “
Dozens of lawyers stood with their heads bowed and their hands folded.
Lady Hallett said the study would analyze how the pandemic played out and determine “whether the level of loss was inevitable or could have been done better.”
“I have a duty to conduct a thorough, impartial and independent inquiry across the UK, and I intend to do so.”
The former judge promised that the investigation “won’t drag on for decades and won’t produce a report when it’s too late.”
She added: “I made a promise to the families during the consultation process that the victims would be at the center of the investigation. I will keep that promise.”
In addressing issues raised by the bereaved family, she said she would not be able to cover every concern or every issue raised in as much detail as “some might want.”
She assured the family that “no decision will be taken lightly” as she promised to look into the NHS’s use of do-not-resuscitate orders and the quality of care provided to people.
Lady Hallett said that contributing to the listening exercise does not prevent people from submitting evidence at the hearings of the investigation “if there is relevant evidence to submit.”
“We have not yet made a decision about which witnesses will be summoned, so no one has been prevented from giving evidence,” she continued.
Pete Weatherby KC, which represents the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group across the UK, said families were experiencing “considerable frustration” amid delays in launching a formal investigation and that the investigation is currently underway. He said he had concerns about the involvement from the team.
“We ask that you come to the investigation, not just to discuss key issues that directly engage the family or are at the center of what the family seeks to assist with the investigation. Modules …and it identifies the problem with the utmost respect – ideas for this dialogue must come from both sides.
“And that’s what’s missing at the moment.”
Mrs Hallett said: “There is no question that the bereaved will be marginalized.”
Concerns about the scope of the first module, Weatherby said, include how devolved issues will be addressed, and the imbalance the pandemic will have on black and brown communities, other minority communities, nursing homes and places of detention. impacts are included.
Ronan Lavery KC, Bereaved Family Attorney Northern Irelandsaid their concern was that they should have a “real role” in the investigation and not be treated as a “footnote”.
Claire Mitchell KC of Scotland’s Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group called for remembrances and remembrances for those who lost their lives not only to be based in London but also ‘mobile’.
Kirsten Heaven, who represents Covid-19 bereaved families for justice for Kimur, said there were concerns wales He added that the preliminary scope of the first module “does not set out in detail the issues specific to Wales”, adding: to a pandemic. “
The investigation is expected to last at least one year.
Module 1 will examine the UK’s resilience and preparedness to the coronavirus pandemic using a second preliminary hearing scheduled for early 2023 and four weeks of preliminary evidence beginning in May. increase.
Elkan Abrahamson, one of the lawyers representing the family, said the four-week timescale was “totally unrealistic.”
Approximately 28 individuals and organizations have been granted Core Participant status in the first module and are given specific rights throughout the study.
These include groups representing bereaved families across the UK, the NHS, UK Health Security, many government departments, local government associations, the National Police Commissioners’ Council, the Trade Union Congress and the British Medical Association.
The survey is divided into three modules, with more details to be announced.
Module 2 reviews decisions made by the Prime Minister and Cabinet, following advice from civil servants, senior political, scientific and medical advisors, and relevant committees.
In module 3, COVID About the healthcare system, including patients, hospitals and other healthcare workers and staff.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/covid-nhs-london-court-of-appeal-wales-b2195564.html Covid investigation: Victims will be at the center of it, Baroness Hallett swears