Covid bereaved group urges Labour members not to elect Vaughan Gething
A group that represents the relatives of people who died of Covid-19 has urged Labour Party members not to back Vaughan Gething in the Welsh Labour leadership contest.
Mr Gething, now the Economy Minister, was Health Minister during the pandemic.
In a thread on social media channel X, formerly known as Twitter, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru has posted a series of posts that say: “For those @WelshLabour members privileged to be voting for the next First Minister. When you meet with the 2 candidates do ask them how they are preparing for the next pandemic & their response plan.
“We all know @vaughangething did nothing to prepare for any pandemic in Wales whilst Health Minister even though that was his job. Here’s a reminder of his woeful, embarrassing & upsetting testimony in @covidinquiryuk below.”
UK Covid Inquiry
The thread then includes part of Mr Gething’s evidence to the UK Covid Inquiry during which he admitted that he hadn’t read crucial reports that could have helped the Welsh Government be better prepared in advance of the Covid outbreak.
The thread continues: “You’ll also get a 2nd chance to hear him give evidence in Feb/March when the @covidinquiryuk comes to Cardiff. According to his leadership PR campaign rather than fail in his duty as Health Minister he should be applauded! Fortunately we’re here to provide the facts. So if you are in any doubt about his ability to lead Wales & can’t wait until after he’s given evidence in Cardiff let’s go through his Covid pandemic response charge sheet.”
The thread then includes a number of bullet points which suggest Mr Gething made a series of poor judgements:
* Mar & Apr 2020 – 1097 patients discharged from hospitals to care homes without a test in Wales.
* 14 Apr 2020 – [UK Government Health Secretary Matt Hancock brought in Covid testing before discharge in England
* 29 Apr 2020 @vaughangething took another 2 weeks to start testing before discharge. Why the delay?
* 28 Apr 2020, UK Government announced Covid testing would be extended to all staff and residents in England, even for those who did not have symptoms.
* 16 May 2020 – over 2 weeks later than England @vaughangething brought in wide scale Covid testing in care homes for patients and staff. Why the delay? *Nov 2020 – UK Gov brought in regular testing of healthcare workers
* From Mar 2021- @vaughangething brought in regular testing for healthcare workers in Wales 4 months later than England. So for an additional 4 months asymptomatic & pre-symptomatic health care workers were working in hospitals unknowingly transmitting Covid. Why the 4 month delay?
* Each of his decisions to delay these agreed mitigations resulted in 1000s of preventable deaths in Wales. He had his chance to protect the people of Wales when it was a matter of life & death & failed. Don’t give him the opportunity to fail again. Please use your vote carefully. Thank you.”
A spokeswoman for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru said: “Our intervention is not about being anti-Welsh Labour or racist. It’s about being pro-doing your job with honesty, integrity and candour.
“Depending which way you look at it, it’s either fortunate or unfortunate that voting in the leadership contest coincides with the only bit of the UK Covis Inquiry that’s taking place in Wales.”
Voting in the leadership contest between Mr Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles will open on February 16 and conclude on March 14. The result of the election will be announced on March 16.
The evidence sessions in Cardiff for the UK Covid Inquiry will take place between February 27 and March 14.
Mr Gething was invited to respond but has not done so.
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