BMA Engagement with the UK Covid-19 Inquiry

The BMA continues to ensure that doctors’ experiences during the pandemic are heard and learnt from. We are actively contributing to the UK Covid Inquiry to ensure that crucial lessons are learned and implemented.

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The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is an independent public inquiry set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to learn lessons for the future. The Inquiry’s investigations are divided into modules which examine different aspects of the pandemic in turn.


Latest Inquiry activity

Module 2: Core UK decision-making and political governance

The second module examines core administrative and political decision making of the UK Government during the pandemic. There are also sub-modules 2a, 2b, and 2c examining the same issues in relation to the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

The BMA is a core participant for Module 2. Evidence hearings started in October 2023, the BMA gave evidence on 05 October 2023.

The BMA believes that:

  • The UK Government’s response to the pandemic was categorised by a failure to take a sufficiently precautionary approach, despite repeated warnings from the BMA and others, and missed opportunities to learn lessons as the pandemic progressed.
  • Government actions – and inaction – very likely led to greater transmission of the virus, increased risk of harm for those who caught Covid including due to long Covid, and adversely impacted patients who required non-Covid care and treatment.
  • Doctors and healthcare workers were not sufficiently considered in UK Government decisions. These decisions had huge impacts for healthcare workers by putting extra pressure on already stretched and stressed healthcare and public health systems, increasing workload, and causing moral distress and injury for doctors and healthcare workers who felt unable to provide the right level of care for all who needed it, including for non-Covid patients.

Other modules

Module 1: Resilience and preparedness

The first module of the Covid-19 inquiry examines pre-pandemic resilience and preparedness between 2009 and 2020. The BMA is a core participant for Module 1 and provided oral and written evidence. The evidence hearings for this module have now finished, with the Chair’s report expected to be published in 2024. 

The BMA believes the UK entered the pandemic significantly underprepared and lacking resilience, largely due to:

  • A lack of preparation for a range of pandemic threats beyond influenza
  • The failure to implement the recommendations from pandemic planning exercises
  • A decade of underfunding for public health systems which meant they lacked vital capacity and were not in a position to scale up activity
  • Chronic underinvestment in healthcare systems, with reduced bed stock, acute staffing shortages and already high waiting lists
  • Poor population health and widening health inequalities

Module 3: Impact of the pandemic on healthcare

The third module examines the impact of the pandemic on healthcare delivery, healthcare staff and patients.

The BMA is a core participant for Module 3. Evidence hearings will begin in Autumn 2024.

Module 4: Vaccines and therapeutics

The fourth module examines the development of Covid-19 vaccines and the implementation of the vaccination rollout programme.

The BMA is a core participant for Module 4. Evidence hearings will begin in Summer 2024.


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BMA COVID-19 actions and policy

Our policy, demands and recommendations to NHS organisations, institutions and the Government to help protect doctors, the NHS and the public during the pandemic.

View our COVID-19 actions and policy