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Scottish Covid inquiry won’t ‘shy away’ from probing government’s ‘wrong’ decisions

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THE CHAIR of Scotland’s coronavirus inquiry has promised bereaved families that she won’t “shy away” from uncovering the Scottish Government’s “wrong decisions” over the pandemic. 

Lady Poole was speaking as the probe examining the strategic response to the pandemic in Scotland moved into its next phase.

The Senator of the College of Justice said: “Responding appropriately to the Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge.

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“In Scotland all of us have been affected by the pandemic and the measures taken to handle it. The suffering and the hardship experienced by many across the country has been unprecedented.

“Covid-19 has left loss, heartbreak and tragedy in its wake. I want to take this opportunity to express my condolences to all those who have suffered, particularly to those who have lost people they love.

“People have legitimate questions about the handling of the pandemic in Scotland. This Inquiry had been set up to provide answers.

“My role as chair of the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry is to investigate aspects of the devolved response to the pandemic in Scotland and report about lessons learned.

“The Inquiry will not shy away from making findings where wrong decisions were made or where the response was inadequate or fell short.”

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The inquiry has twelve terms of reference, including the decision to lockdown and apply other restrictions, and the rules around testing, outbreak management and self isolation.

The judge will also look at the transfer of residents to or from care or nursing homes, as well as the treatment and care of residents, restrictions on visiting, infection prevention and control, and inspections.

Lady Poole said the terms of reference would be flexible and not “a definitive list of every issue or every person that the inquiry will consider.”

She added: “Instead, they specify areas of investigation, and the Inquiry will interpret them with flexibility to ensure particular groups or themes are not excluded. 

“Human rights and equalities are important to the Inquiry and will be taken into account throughout its work.”

The inquiry is still in its establishment phase, and is currently recruiting a team and “putting in place premises and vital infrastructure.”

As part of the planning process, the inquiry commissioned introductory scoping research from academic institutions including the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Highlands and Islands, and Birmingham.

Lady Poole said: “We will investigate the facts about the handling of the pandemic, to find out what lessons have been learned, both positive and negative, and we will make recommendations for the future.”

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Last month, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that the human consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic were embedded in her soul.


 

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