News Analysis

What will a Covid inquiry look like and what does it need to investigate?

Health correspondent Shaun Lintern lists areas for the Covid public inquiry to examine and explains what it could look like

<p>A public inquiry into the Covid response will have wide-ranging powers</p>

A public inquiry into the Covid response will have wide-ranging powers

There will be a full statutory independent public inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But what does that really mean and what are the key questions the inquiry will need to examine?

I was closely involved, as a journalist, in the public inquiry into the NHS care scandal at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which was hearing evidence 10 years ago and I saw for myself the benefits and pitfalls they can have. That inquiry exposed widespread abuse and neglect of hundreds of NHS patients but through the inquiry was revealed a total system failure by the wider NHS system right from the local NHS to Downing Street itself.

A public inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act, like the one into the Mid Staffs scandal, will have wide ranging powers to compel the production of evidence by both organisations and individuals. They can also be made to give evidence under oath.

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