News

Minister accused of ‘misdirection’ after ruling out a Wales-specific Covid inquiry

03 Aug 2021 2 minutes Read
Picture by John Jones (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Welsh Government has been accused of “running away” from an independent inquiry into its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS also accused Health Minister Eluned Morgan of contradiction and “misdirection” in her response to a written question on the reasons for ruling out a Wales-specific inquiry.

On 7 July, Baroness Morgan rejected Mr George’s call in the Senedd for a dedicated Covid inquiry in Wales, saying, “it is very difficult to disaggregate what was going on in the rest of the UK from what’s going here”, citing personal protective equipment as an example.

However, when Mr George asked for clarification of areas this applied in a written question, the Minister appeared to backtrack.

“I do not believe that there are any such areas, although of course there are instances where decisions within the responsibility of the UK Government have impacted upon, and have had consequences form decisions that are within the responsibility of the Welsh Government,” she replied.

Scrutiny

“Labour’s rejection of scrutiny of the widest ever use of the Welsh Government’s powers – while simultaneously calling for more devolution –undermines the Senedd they profess to support,” Mr George claimed.

“That attitude and the misdirection by the health minister suggests contempt for those that have suffered from the effects of the virus and lockdowns in Wales, while evasion of an inquiry only raises suspicions.

“People in Wales deserve a full and transparent account of why their government did what it did during the pandemic – good decisions and bad – not some “subsection” in a larger UK-wide report where the Welsh Government can avoid accountability, as is its desire.”

Plaid Cymru has also accused the government of “ducking scrutiny” by refusing to set up an independent inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.

The UK Government have already committed to holding a UK-wide inquiry, but despite taking decisions on handling the Covid inquiry independently in Wales, the Welsh Government have so far rejected pressure to hold a separate probe.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
11 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago

This is grossly irresponsible by WG.

An enquiry is not about allocating blame. It is about equipping us better to deal with the next pandemic, which may be just around the corner.

Every responsible government should be examining the experience of the last 18 months and attempting to distill the lessons that can be used to save lives next time around.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 month ago

So where do they draw the line? At the point where PHEngland “stole” millions of items of PPE ordered and paid for by Wales or when PHW had to step in and source vaccines outwith the privatised NHS Supply Coordination Ltd?

I agree that there are lessons to be learned but the first item surely should be the release of Exercise Cygnus 2016 findings otherwise we risk going round and round producing reports hidden from sight.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

All reasonable questions. No doubt, there would be some political haggling over the scope / terms of reference. That would be normal. But it should be common ground among all responsible politicians that there should be a formal, expert-led process to learn the lessons. Lessons which would without doubt save lives.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cai Wogan Jones
Phil Nedin
Phil Nedin
1 month ago

Wales should have an enquiry when Whitehall does. Then Whitehall ignoring Cygnus conclusions, lack of communication between Whitehall and the devolved governments, the inadequate supply of PPE, the lack of airports being closed by UK government etc could be considered and the results presented as underpinning the problem that the devolved governments experienced.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

With a quarter of covid 19 deaths in Wales occuring in people who contracted the virus in a welsh hospital a wales specific inquiry is essential. We need to find out how this happened if we are to be able to ensure it doesnt happen again in our hospitals in Wales if – heaven forbid- there should be any similar pandemic in the future

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

How do patients catch MRSA, Noro Virus, Ecoli, C diff etc…

Tim
Tim
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Totally agree.

I fear WG are not wanting an inquiry in fear of bad press. This way they can parcel any blame off to Westminster.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Anyone with half an hour’s nursing experience or having ever visited a relative in certain Welsh hospitals would have spotted immediately that people were catching Covid in hospital. There should have been an inquiry from the early days of the Aneurin Bevan Trust debacle, that poor woman, a fit golfer, who went in for a gall bladder op or similar and died of Covid. Should have been stopped then.

Anna-Louise
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

Agree- my father went in to Nevill Hall, Aneurin Bevan Trust with a gall bladder infection in October. Despite being exposed on his ward- 13 staff and 14 patients they sent him home without a retest. He deteriorated quickly was readmitted then died 3 days later from Covid pneumonia. This was 7 mths into the pandemic.
We as a group of bereaved families in Wales are calling for a Wales specific inquiry now. Covid Bereaved Families for Justice – Cymru https://www.facebook.com/groups/353549163088125/

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

We should keep our own house in order not hide behind Sajid Javid, Baroness Morgan…

Anna-Louise
1 month ago

We as a group of bereaved families in Wales are calling for a Wales specific Covid inquiry now. Covid Bereaved Families for Justice – Cymru. https://www.facebook.com/groups/353549163088125/

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.