The SNP Government is inviting views on the draft aims and principles of an independent public inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 Inquiry Establishment Aims and Principles paper is intended to shape its terms of reference with input from stakeholders, including bereaved families.
The proposed inquiry is anticipated to be established by the end of the year, to scrutinise decisions taken in the course of this pandemic, and learn lessons for future pandemics.
It will take a take a person-centred, human rights based approach with a focus on outcomes and timely reporting to identify lessons and recommendations. Particular consideration will also be given to the ‘four harms’ of the pandemic:
direct health impacts of COVID-19, including cases and deaths in care homes
other non COVID health impacts
societal impacts, including education
The public are now encouraged to share their ideas and comments on the suggested approach via email by Thursday 30 September.
The publication of the document meets the SNP Government commitment to begin to take the necessary steps to establish a public inquiry within its first 100 days in office.
Furthermore, discussions are underway with the Lord President to identify and appoint a judge to chair the inquiry.
Deputy First Minister and COVID Recovery Secretary John Swinney MSP said:
“Since the early stages of our pandemic response we have been committed to a public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic in Scotland, to ensure that lessons are learned for the future. The publication of this aims and principles paper, as one of our 100 days commitments, is an important step towards the establishment of that inquiry.”
“Discussions are also ongoing with the UK Government on the planned four nations inquiry, to ensure all areas that need to be considered are covered in a way that gives confidence to bereaved families and others.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The human cost of COVID must never be forgotten, and it is key that we evaluate what could have been done better or differently particularly during the initial phase of the pandemic in 2020.
“It’s important that the government listens to those affected by COVID-19, including bereaved families, on what they wish the public inquiry to focus on.
“As your feedback will be fundamental in reviewing the suggested approach set out here, and setting the terms of reference for an independent Scottish inquiry, I urge everyone who reads this to take the time to read the proposal and email their feedback to COVIDemail@example.com.”
View COVID-19 Inquiry Establishment Aims and Principles here.