William Eichler 13 May 2022

COVID inquiry chair requests changes to investigation’s focus

COVID inquiry chair requests changes to investigation’s focus  image
Image: H_Ko/Shutterstock.com.

Chair of the UK COVID-19 public inquiry Baroness Hallett has written to the Prime Minister proposing changes to the inquiry’s Terms of Reference in order to emphasise the pandemic’s unequal impact.

The inquiry held a four-week consultation with bereaved families, representatives from different sectors and the public, and received over 20,000 responses on what the inquiry should look at.

Drawing on the lessons learned from the consultation, the chair has asked the PM to expand the draft Terms of Reference, which set the outline for the inquiry, to place the issue of inequality at the heart of the inquiry.

Baroness Hallett also said that the inquiry should be able to look at the collaboration between central Government, devolved administrations, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.

She also requested that the inquiry be allowed to look into the impact of COVID-19 on the health, wellbeing and social care education and early years provision of children and young people.

The Terms of Reference should also include the impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of the UK population, she said.

‘I have listened to compelling arguments to focus on children and young people, the mental health and wellbeing of the UK population and collaboration between regional, devolved and national government, and the voluntary and community sector. I am therefore asking you to expand the Terms of Reference to include these issues,’ wrote Baroness Hallett.

‘The unequal impact of the pandemic was a theme that came through strongly in responses to the consultation. I am therefore recommending that the Terms of Reference be reframed to put possible inequalities at its forefront so that investigation into any unequal impacts of the pandemic runs through the whole Inquiry. This important recommendation will ensure the Inquiry is inclusive in its approach.’

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