We welcome the fact that Justin Welby has added his name to the long list of individuals and organisations calling for an official inquiry into the handling of the Covid pandemic (Verslag, 21 April).
Recognising that the government would do everything it could to delay such an investigation where its actions might be subjected to criticism, an independent navraag has been set up by Keep Our NHS Public. This has involved taking evidence from expert witnesses, frontline and key workers, bereaved families and others.
Sessions are held in public every two weeks via social media, with four of nine sessions still to run. The inquiry is chaired by Michael Mansfield QC and witnesses questioned on the basis of their statements by barrister Lorna Hackett.
Some who have supported our inquiry include Sir Michael Marmot, Sir David King, Prof Gabriel Scally, Prof Martin McKee, Prof Raymond Agius and Michael Rosen.
Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice have also given support and evidence. Their remembrance wall is a striking visual reminder of just how many lives have been lost, while calling out eloquently for an honest and urgent appraisal of how this has happened.
We agree with the archbishop that people want to know what lessons have been learned and deaths thereby prevented. This is now of pressing importance given most experts are predicting a further surge in cases towards the end of the summer. To this end, we are exploring all those issues touched on by the archbishop.
There is really no prospect of a report from an official inquiry (were one to be set up) for a good few years. In this situation, it seems to us that the “citizens’ tribunal” model we have adopted is the only way to give immediate comfort to the estimated 8 million people grieving for loved ones. Details of the inquiry, including evidence collected so far, can be found on our website and recordings of the sessions are available on YouTube.
John Puntis Co-chair, KONP (retired paediatrician), Tony O’Sullivan Co-chair, KONP (retired paediatrician) en Michael Mansfield QC