Covid inquiry must ensure NHS, staff and patients never again experience tragedies of pandemic

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, responds to the latest reports from the British Medical Association.

18 May 2022

Responding to the British Medical Association's review into the Government's handling of the Covid pandemic and its impact on the NHS, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said:

"The harrowing accounts from frontline doctors will resonate loudly with what health leaders shared they and their teams had to endure during the peaks of the pandemic, with shortages of PPE and testing, and insufficient preparation compromising safety and the care they were able to deliver.

“The very least they will expect is that the Government takes heed of these recommendations, both now and through the independent Covid inquiry, to guarantee that the NHS, its staff and the people who rely on its services are not put in this situation ever again.

“While the threat of coronavirus has not disappeared, its legacy already features an exhausted workforce, eye-watering treatment backlogs, and widened health inequalities. The NHS is working hard to tackle these and is making solid progress, but in the face of a rapidly escalating cost of living crisis, 110,000 vacancies, and nurses leaving the register at an alarming rate, they are doing so with one arm tied behind their backs.

“Health leaders are wondering what more it will take for the Government to recognise that a fully funded, long-term plan for the expansion of the health and care workforce is desperately needed.”