Aamer Anwar, the Solicitor acting on behalf of the “Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice” responds to the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Covid-19 Public Inquiry
Aamer Anwar, the Solicitor acting on behalf of the “Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice” responds to the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Covid-19 Public Inquiry.
The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, updated the Scottish Parliament on the Terms of Reference of the Scottish Covid-19 Public Inquiry today. For the last year the families that were represented have campaigned for an independent public inquiry to take place into the handling of the pandemic.
These families have fought to hold the account those in charge of our public institutions, because thousands of people died, who didn’t need to. Every single person lost deserves their story to be heard and their untimely death and suffering acknowledged.
Only a robust, independent and transparent Public Inquiry can restore public confidence and ultimately guarantees must be secured that a crisis like this, can never happen again.
On the 17th August this year the Scottish Government represented by the Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Cabinet Secretary for Health- Humza Yousaf met with family members and our legal team, since then multiple meetings have taken place and the families welcomed the announcement an independent public inquiry would be set up by the end of this calendar year.
It is now almost two years since the pandemic began wreaking devastation across this country. Whilst the UK Government appears no further forward in setting up an Inquiry, it is important that lessons are learnt now in Scotland whilst evidence and memories are still clear and reliable.
Ministers were told that any Inquiry set up must retain the confidence of the Scottish families and their voices must be heard. Scottish families and individuals must be seen as core-participants in any COVID inquiry. Any attempt to side-line those who have experienced the full impact of the pandemic would impact on the credibility and integrity of that Inquiry.
At first glance the wide-ranging terms of reference are welcomed but these are only draft terms and in the coming days and weeks, we will make further submissions on critical areas which must deal specifically with the impact of COVID 19 on the following groups. For example the:
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic community,
- women, including the provision of maternity services,
- people with disabilities and additional support needs,
- children and young people,
- mental health services
- people who are chronically ill, both prior to Covid or because of ‘long Covid’,
- workers in call centers,
- all front-line workers,
- and those in the hospitality and night life sector
We have for several months been seeking evidence from those impacted by the pandemic and will continue to encourage families, individuals, communities and workers to come forward to speak to us to ensure that their voices are central to the inquiry.
We have a dedicated email contact- email@example.com or you can call our office on 0141 429 7090.