Responding to the Public Administration and Consultation Affairs Committee report: Government transparency and accountability during Covid 19: the data underpinning decisions1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“This report is a damning reflection of the failure of the government to keep the public and nation properly informed during the greatest national and global health crisis in recent memory.
“The BMA has long called for ministers to be open and transparent about the reality facing the nation, and to provide clarity in their decision-making based on science and evidence, in order to fight this pandemic successfully. It’s now very obvious this has not happened and this report, quite rightly, calls out the Government for its failure to ‘provide sufficient explanation of the data underpinning key decisions during Covid-19.’ The report says this ‘placed needless strain on public confidence’; it has had the same effect on healthcare services too.
“The Government’s decision-making process has often been political rather than based on transparent facts and objectivity. We’ve seen a lack of openness about the actual level of PPE supplies during the first wave, with false assurances of a sufficient stockpile that was patently not the case. There have been policies regarding restrictions and tiers made without sharing statistics to underpin decisions and there was a failing to be open about SAGE’s warning last September urging for a circuit breaker, which was then followed by a second wave.
“The report says ‘it is likely that failures in data sharing have undermined the response’. Our devastating mortality figures could in part be a result of the failure of the Government to properly and openly share data, communicate accurately and act swiftly.
“Moving forward it is imperative that Ministers’ decisions on easing lockdown restrictions are based on transparent information of infection rates and vaccine efficacy and to fully honour its commitment to “data not dates”.
Notes to editors
The BMA is a 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.
- A link to the report can be found here.
For media enquiries please email [email protected] or call 020 7383 6448