Responding to evidence given by former Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the Covid Inquiry, BMA council chair Professor Philip Banfield said:
“Sadly, Matt Hancock’s apologies today will ring hollow for thousands of doctors and patients.
“As a doctor working on the frontline during the pandemic I take issue with the former Health Secretary saying that had all the recommendations from pandemic planning exercises been implemented it “would not have been much help.” Having had adequate availability and provision of appropriate PPE would have made a huge difference to staff on the ground who had to fight a deadly disease, often without the right protection.
“By saying the stockpile of PPE was ‘very significant’ in early 2020 and that the problem was just one of distribution, he is glossing over the issues of quality and type of PPE. Staff had to use items that were out of date, with multiple expiry stickers visibly layered on top of each other, leading to some PPE that was no longer fit for purpose snapping unpredictably while in use. In a BMA survey 81% of doctors reported not feeling fully protected during the first wave of the pandemic.
“To accept responsibility for his failures now while breezily dismissing their relevance disrespects NHS workers and the Inquiry process.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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