‘Lessons must be learned’: Derbyshire families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus react to inquiry announcement
Derbyshire families who have lost loved ones to coronavirus have shared their thoughts after the Prime Minister announced an inquiry next year into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Boris Johnson told MPs this week that an independent public inquiry into the handling of the crisis would be held in spring 2022.
The Government is ‘fully committed to learning the lessons at every stage’ of the pandemic, he said.
The inquiry would place ‘the state's actions under the microscope’, he added, and take evidence under oath.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and some bereaved families questioned why the inquiry could not start earlier, such as later in 2021.
Ian Mousley, 51, of Creswell, lost his life to the virus at Chesterfield Royal Hospital in March.
Nicola Mousley, who would have been married to Ian for 25 years in July, told the Derbyshire Times: “I have had a discussion with my two children and we also agree that the inquiry should definitely take place earlier than it is planned for.
“The mistakes that have been made could have so easily been avoided had advice been followed.
“Lessons need to be learned, and questions answered, preferably before the next wave, that appears inevitable at this time.
“We personally hold our Prime Minister responsible for every single death, including my husband and children's father.
“Who knows what the outcome would have been if a different Prime Minister had acted differently or acted sooner.
“That is something we will never find out.
“But the advice and science was there.
“He chose not to act sooner – and when he did, it was a shambles.
“So yes, he needs to be held accountable – and now, not next year.”
Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said the inquiry could not ‘inadvertently distract’ those within the NHS and government advisers, who were continuing to deal with the pandemic.
Former paramedic Alan Ecob, of Pinxton, died aged 66 in April after battling coronavirus.
Mr Ecob’s daughter, Laura Daukintis, said: “As a bereaved family at the hands of the Covid-19 virus, we welcome a review into the government's handling of the pandemic.
“While we appreciate the magnitude and unprecedented situation in early 2020 and whilst an enquiry won't bring back our loved one, it is hoped that lessons will be learned that may prevent the loss of loved ones in the future.”
Jo Goodman, co-founder of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, said the inquiry must involve families from the start, allowing them to help to choose the chair as well as determining the terms of reference.
She said spring 2022 was ‘simply too late to begin’.
"It sounds like common sense when the Prime Minister says that an inquiry can wait until the pandemic is over, but lives are at stake with health experts and scientists warning of a third wave later this year.
“A rapid review in summer 2020 could have saved our loved ones who died in the second wave in winter.”
The total number of deaths registered across Derbyshire county and Derby city where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate currently stands at 2,978.