Ahead of the Covid Inquiry's 4pm deadline today for the Cabinet Office to release former PM Boris Johnson’s unredacted WhatsApp messages and diary entries, Professor Philip Banfield, BMA council chair, said:
“The Government has promised to be “absolutely transparent” with the Covid inquiry. The 200,000 who lost their lives, the thousands of NHS staff who gave their all, and millions of patients who suffered through the pandemic, deserve nothing less.
“The BMA spent months collating accounts from doctors who lived and worked through the pandemic. Our final review, submitted to the public inquiry, showed the Government failed in its duty of care to protect doctors from avoidable harm and suffering. We undertook one of the largest, most detailed analyses of doctors’ views and experiences of the pandemic and submitted our findings to the inquiry in the hope that we help prevent a catastrophe of this magnitude happening again.
“So for this Government to firstly claim that Boris Johnson’s unredacted notebooks and WhatsApps were irrelevant and then that it didn’t even have access to them is nothing short of atrocious. Not only does refusing to handover such material undermine public confidence that the inquiry can be the definitive and honest account of what decisions were taken and why in those fateful months, but it shows how little care the Government still has for doctors, healthcare workers and indeed everyone impacted by the pandemic.
“This public inquiry must have access to all the evidence it asks for – no matter who holds it. The Government must think very carefully today about their responsibility to history and to the truth. They have been given a chance to come clean and deliver this material by 4pm today - there must be no further excuses. We will continue to hold them to account, today and as the inquiry progresses.”
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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