As usual the Tories are ducking and covering, trotting out their usual excuse that there’s no proof of “any causal link” between the lack of PPE and the deaths of NHS staff.
It’s the excuse they use whenever anyone suggests that one of the disabled people they’ve persecuted to death might have died because of the way the Tory government treats them and it doesn’t stand up when they use it that way either.
The answer is obvious. Just turn around and say: “Okay – what do you think is the most likely reason: contact with NHS patients who have the coronavirus while wearing an apron and no face protection every single minute of their working lives, or accidentally standing 1.99m away from the nearest person on the way to and from that job?
My personal opinion? We should throw Matt Hancock and all the other excuse-mongers into one of their own Covid-riddled prisons now, and throw away the keys.
The bereaved families of healthcare professionals are asking why their loved ones were sent to the medical front line without the personal protective equipment they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.
We would not expect a fire fighter to die because they were not provided with fire retardant clothing. In the same way, the death of a nurse because they had only a pinny, gloves and a paper mask is arbitrary and almost certainly unacceptable to the public.
The government’s … own influenza pandemic strategy states specifically, “the government has in place stockpiles of face masks and respirators for health and social care workers”.
The Department of Health rejected the government’s own specialist advisory body’s advice in 2017 to stockpile eye protection, reasoning: “The cost of the PPE component of the pandemic stockpile would increase four to six-fold with a very limited likelihood of cost benefits.”
Authorities have an obligation to take preventive operational measures to protect lives; this includes the lives of NHS workers so far as it doesn’t impose an “impossible or disproportionate burden” on the authorities.
Coroners’ inquests may become an important forum for determining whether the government has adequately safeguarded the lives of its health workers during this pandemic. A coroner can look at a death from COVID-19 in circumstances where the death was unexpected and there are allegations of culpable human failure.
Bereaved families may also be able to bring claims in the civil courts, under the Human Rights Act 1998, for breach of a loved one’s right to life – a group action on this would not be surprising.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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