Lack of scrutiny of Welsh Government in MPs report shows need for Welsh Covid inquiry says charity
A lack of mention of Wales in a report by MPs shows the need for a Wales-specific Covid inquiry, a charity has said.
The report published yesterday, which examines the initial UK response to the covid pandemic, only contains nine mentions of Wales in passing in its 147 pages.
A spokesperson for Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Wales said that the inquiry was needed to “seek closure for families who lost loved ones at the hands of our Government’s mistakes”.
“The report by MPs into the Covid response highlighted apparent delays and errors, but the committee did not look at steps taken individually by Wales,” they said.
“Decisions relating to care and treatment for which the Welsh Government are responsible for need to be scrutinised here in Wales.
“We still see the repercussions of the Welsh Governments failings, such as delayed NHS services and staff shortages. A Wales-specific inquiry will establish why communication between London and Wales was so poor.
“Devolved power comes with devolved responsibility. A wales-specific is the only way we can ensure we are prepared for any future pandemic.”
Helen Whyley , Director of Royal College of Nursing Wales, also called for an inquiry, telling BBC Radio Wales today: “I think we need to see, and understand, what happened in Wales.
“Whether that is able to be done as part of a UK-wide inquiry, I think we need to see what the terms for reference look like. The public in Wales, the staff who work in Wales, the care homes, the communities want to know what happened in Wales during Covid 19.”
Despite no specific scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s decisions in the report, yesterday Wales’ health minister apologised “to all those who suffered” during the pandemic for mistakes the Welsh Government made.
A group called Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice Cymru is currently campaigning for a separate Covid inquiry in Wales.
They have set up a petition on the Senedd website which has so far been signed by over a thousand people.
“Many loved-ones acquired Covid-19 in hospitals and care homes in Wales. PPE was lacking, staff not tested unless symptomatic, ventilation poor, Covid patients put on non-Covid wards,” they said.
“Many sent home without being retested; spreading infection in the community & subsequently dying. Many had DNRs placed without consultation. Communication was poor or non-existent.
“Lessons most definitely have not been learnt. Decisions taken in Wales which affected the people of Wales should be scrutinised in Wales.”
Yesterday Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS also said that the lack of mentions of Wales in the MPs report pointed to the need for a Wales-only inquiry.
“Sobering, damning, devastating. This report exposes the fatalistic approach at the heart of this Westminster Government which led to tens of thousands of lost lives in one of the UK’s worst ever public health failures,” he said.
“Too slow to respond, too late to lockdown, and too arrogant to learn from countries with greater expertise, this report must forever put to bed Westminster politicians’ conceited belief that they are somehow unique in the world.
“Meanwhile, with only nine mentions in the 147-page report, Wales is resigned to the footnotes.”