Covid Enquiry Says Government Got It “Completely Wrong”

Speaking at the ongoing Covid-19 enquiry chaired by Baroness Hallett, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that government planning for a potential pandemic had been “completely wrong”.

Hugo Keith KC, counsel for the Inquiry, put it to Matt Hancock “You bear ministerial responsibility for that calamitous state of affairs, do you not?”, and Matt Hancock continuously repeated a key message that the UK and other western countries made a “colossal” mistake by treating Covid as something that would inevitably spread and couldn’t be stopped or contained, saying we were far too focused on “body bags and where to bury the dead”.

Matt Hancock claimed that when he became health secretary in 2018, he was told that the UK was one of, if not the, best prepared countries in the world for a pandemic. But the reality, he said, was that the social care sector was the weak point, with planning for the impact on social care “terrible”, partly because the sector was so fractured across different private care companies. He said that the government did not even know how many care home residents there were at the start of the pandemic.


In other statements, Matt Hancock said that the public never realised how close the NHS came to running out of intensive care drugs, and when the inquiry’s counsel put it to him that there was a “complete systemic failure” to prevent the “catastrophic consequences” of the pandemic, he said “I couldn’t agree more and it’s an absolute tragedy.”

Speaking on the lack of preparedness, Matt Hancock said that he was “profoundly sorry” for every death caused by Covid-19 and he understood why some find it difficult to accept his apology, and that the UK’s attitude of focusing on the consequences of a disaster and not on preventing it was “completely wrong”.

Matt Hancock also claimed that vaccination was one area where the UK performed ‘incredibly well’, saying “We of course had the first vaccine in the world,” though problems with stockpiles of PPE were “very significant”, with the logistical complexity of setting up supply chains “exceptionally difficult”, and the amount spent on health security ‘completely indefensible’ at £450m, compared to £53b on military defence.

READ ALSO: Emergency is Over but Coronavirus Remains

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry has been set up to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and learn lessons for the future.

Four Modules have already begun: Resilience and preparedness (Module 1), Core UK decision-making and political governance (Module 2), Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare (Module 3) and most recently Vaccines and therapeutics (Module 4) which started on 5 June 2023.

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get
• FREE Competitions
• FREE Digital Magazines
• HOME and FAMILY News
And much more…

You have Successfully Subscribed!