Today, the UK Covid-19 Inquiry opens its third investigation, which considers the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Baroness Heather Hallett, Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry said:
“The pandemic had an unprecedented impact on health systems across the UK. The Inquiry will investigate and analyse the healthcare decisions made during the pandemic, the reasons for them and their impact, so that lessons can be learned and recommendations made for the future.
“During the consultation on our Terms of Reference, bereaved families and healthcare workers told me candidly about the devastating and prolonged impact of the pandemic on healthcare. Those most affected by the pandemic deserve answers on what happened and why. I am determined to get those answers.”
Module 1 will examine the resilience and preparedness of the United Kingdom for a pandemic including the preparedness of public health services. Module 3 will examine the consequences for healthcare of the response to the pandemic. It will look at how the healthcare systems responded, the impact on systems and services, including on patients, doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff.
The Inquiry has set out 12 key areas for investigation in its scope, including:
- core decision-making and leadership;
- staffing levels and critical care capacity (including the establishment and use of Nightingale hospitals);
- the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 within healthcare settings (including infection control and the adequacy of PPE);
- communication with patients with Covid-19 and their loved ones about treatment – including discussions about Do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPRs);
- shielding and its impact on the clinically vulnerable;
- the long-term effects of Covid-19, including Long Covid.
The application process to become a Core Participant for Module 3 opens today, 8 November, and will close on 5 December at 5pm.
A Core Participant is an individual, organisation or institution that has a specific interest in the work of the Inquiry.
Core Participants can access evidence relevant to this investigation, make opening and closing statements at Inquiry hearings and suggest lines of questioning to Inquiry Counsel.