Responding to news that the number of deaths from Covid-19 has exceeded 50,000 in the UK, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“This is a point that should never have been reached. In March, Professor Steve Powis said that if the public adhered to the nationwide lockdown the total toll could be kept below 20,000. Today’s figure is a terrible indictment of poor preparation, poor organisation by the Government, insufficient infection control measures, coupled with late and often confusing messaging for the public.
“Since the start of this virus, the BMA has been at the forefront of calling for fundamental improvements to the way the pandemic has been managed, to the protection provided to frontline staff, an effective test and trace system to contain the virus, for clear and consistent public messaging, and now for a proper exit strategy that will stop an overwhelming health crisis and an even higher death toll.
“As we look towards the hope of a vaccine, it’s vital that lessons are learned from the last nine months to ensure that nothing on this scale ever happens again.
“A public inquiry must go over every step with a fine-tooth comb, from testing issues and shortages of PPE, to the crisis in care homes and the delayed protection of the BAME community - all of which had a major impact on the progression of this virus and how the NHS was able to cope with rising cases. Indeed, the BMA has argued throughout Covid-19 that the health service started on the backfoot, with years of underfunding seriously affecting its ability to keep it running effectively.
“Lessons must be learnt, future generations protected, and most importantly, the life of every single person taken by this dreadful disease, remembered.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association 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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