BMA attacks former Health Secretary’s Covid claims

A doctors’ leader says former Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s apologies at the Covid Inquiry ‘will ring hollow for thousands of doctors and patients’.

The BMA council chairman said, as a doctor working on the front line during the pandemic, he took issue with Mr Hancock saying that if all the recommendations from pandemic planning exercises had been implemented, it ‘would not have been much help’. 

Prof Philip Banfield

Prof Philip Banfield added that if there had been adequate availability and provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), it would have made a huge difference to staff on the ground who had to fight a deadly disease, often without the right protection. 

‘By saying the stockpile of PPE was “very significant” in early 2020 and that the problem was just one of distribution, he is glossing over the issues of quality and type of PPE. 

‘Staff had to use items that were out of date, with multiple expiry stickers visibly layered on top of each other, leading to some PPE that was no longer fit for purpose snapping unpredictably while in use.’ 

In a BMA survey, 81% of doctors reported not feeling fully protected during the first wave of the pandemic. 

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