Welsh Government’s pandemic preparedness to be scrutinised at Covid-19 Inquiry
Wales’ top health officials, including Chief Medical Officer Sir Frank Atherton and former NHS Wales head Dr Andrew Goodall, will face questioning at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry today, Monday, July 3.
The inquiry will explore the preparedness and resilience of the UK’s response to the pandemic, focusing on the actions of the Welsh Government.
Sir Frank Atherton and Dr Andrew Goodall, both key figures in Wales’ Covid response, are due to give evidence, along with First Minister Mark Drakeford and former health minister Vaughan Gething, who will appear before the inquiry on Tuesday.
The group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru, born two years ago from a collective need for answers, have worked tirelessly to ensure the actions of the Welsh Government are thoroughly examined.
“We knew something had gone terribly wrong,” says a representative, expressing a mixture of relief, hope, sadness, anger, and an unwavering determination for justice.
The inquiry, chaired by Baroness Hallett, aims to scrutinise the decision-making processes in Wales that had deeply personal consequences for the population.
“We are a small group determined to help her find these critical answers,” the group added.
The group’s focus is on the preparedness of the Welsh Government, the infrastructure in place to combat the respiratory airborne virus, and the training and tools provided to health and social care staff.
The group, acting as the only ‘non-state’ core participant representing Wales, hopes that the inquiry will thoroughly scrutinise Welsh preparedness and bring to light any potential failings.
They call on the Welsh Government to ‘acknowledge any failings’ and to collaborate on necessary changes to ensure Wales is prepared for future pandemics.
This week’s key witnesses include not just Atherton and Goodall, but also First Minister Mark Drakeford, former Health Minister Vaughan Gething, and Quentin Sandifer, the former Executive Director of Public Health Wales, all of whom are believed to be in unique positions to provide a comprehensive understanding of the decision-making process during the pandemic.
The evidence given in the coming days will be critically assessed against the lived experiences of those who lost loved ones to Covid-19.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru, despite their own grief, pledge to “ensure that the truth will not remain hidden.”
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