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An independent inquiry into Covid-19 must be done urgently and with the input of nurses across all settings and sectors, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
The RCN warned that an investigation into the coronavirus crisis and the way it has been handled in the UK must be carried out with the “same urgency nurses demonstrated” in their response to the pandemic.
“A public, independent inquiry needs to be conducted with that same urgency nurses demonstrated”
Dame Donna Kinnair
The union’s comments come after prime minister Boris Johnson announced, for the first time, his commitment to a future independent inquiry into “what happened” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, the prime minister said that the present time, during the middle of the pandemic, was not the right moment to “devote huge amounts of official time to an inquiry”.
But he confirmed that the government would “seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic in the future and certainly we will have an independent inquiry into what happened”.
In response to Mr Johnson’s remarks, RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair highlighted that nurses were “instrumental in the response to this pandemic and knew acting swiftly would reduce its impact”.
“A public, independent inquiry needs to be conducted with that same urgency nurses demonstrated,” she said. “It is the only the way the government, its agencies and advisors, can reflect and learn.”
Ministers have been strongly criticised throughout the pandemic on issues such as the death toll among health professionals, especially those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and a lack of personal protective equipment.
In addition, Dame Donna stressed an inquiry must hear from all nurses across all settings.
“All nursing staff deserve to have their experience of working during Covid-19 heard,” she said.
“The strong voice of nursing shouldn’t be stifled. We expect our whole profession to be represented.”