NHS Providers welcomes the start of the COVID-19 public inquiry

29 June 2022

Responding to the publication by the government of the final terms of reference for the forthcoming public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"We welcome the government accepting the terms of reference recommended by chair Baroness Heather Hallett, and the official start of the public inquiry.

"The pandemic has had a profound impact across the health and social care sector, and across society and the economy. It is right that the inquiry will independently scrutinise this period and the decisions made.

"The NHS went above and beyond during the pandemic, but it also faced many challenges such as infection prevention and control, access to personal protective equipment, testing and robust epidemiological modelling. The inquiry has an important role to play in identifying how we can learn from this and ensure the health and care sector is better placed to respond to future pressures.

"We are also pleased to see that the inquiry will provide insight into the nation's preparedness, and resilience ahead of, and during the pandemic, and will have an important focus on inequalities. COVID-19 laid bare the fault lines within society, creating a situation where those who were most disadvantaged before the pandemic bore the brunt of the virus and were hit hardest by the measures needed to control it.

"It will be important that we can act on the lessons learned from this process as they emerge, rather than waiting for the formal report.

"We look forward to working with trusts as this inquiry progresses."